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Thyroid Nodule Fine Needle Biopsy

Alternate Names

  • biopsy-skinny needle
  • skinny-needle biopsy

Definition

In a thyroid nodule fine-needle biopsy or aspiration, a small sample of tissue is taken from the thyroid gland, an endocrine gland in the neck. This sample is then analyzed in the laboratory.

Who is a candidate for the test?

The thyroid nodule fine-needle biopsy is usually done to help diagnose thyroid cancer or other thyroid disorders.

How is the test performed?

This test can be done in a healthcare professional's office or in the hospital. The person lies on his or her back. The area of skin over the thyroid gland, above the windpipe on the neck, is cleaned with an antiseptic.
A very thin, hollow needle is inserted through the skin and into the thyroid gland. After a small amount of fluid is aspirated, that is, sucked into the needle, the needle is withdrawn. The sample is then sent to the laboratory for testing.

What is involved in preparation for the test?

A person should request specific instructions from his or her healthcare professional.

What do the test results mean?

Normal results mean that the thyroid gland tissue is normal in structure. Abnormal results may indicate the following:
  • thyroid disease
  • a noncancerous thyroid tumor
  • thyroid cancer

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