Fine Needle Aspiration of Thyroid Nodule Using Ultrasound
A fine needle aspiration (FNA) or biopsy of
a thyroid nodule is a simple test done by an
endocrinologist to check for cancer cells.
The needle used is very small and a
numbing cream may be used to prevent pain.
A number of samples will be taken from
different parts of the nodule. This helps
your doctor find any cancer cells if a tumor
You will not need to stop eating or drinking
ahead of time. Patients often return home
or go back to work after the biopsy, without
any ill effects. Although the test is not
perfect, a thyroid needle biopsy should tell
us enough so that other tests are not needed.
Your doctor can then use these results to
decide your course of treatment.
FNA Using Ultrasound
The ultrasound helps guide the needle
placement for biopsy and reduces the chance
of an inconclusive biopsy. An ultrasound-
guided FNA is done by an endocrinologist
along with a cytotechnologist. The slides
are then reviewed by a cytopathologist.
You will lie on a table with a pillow
under your neck.
A clear jelly will be put on your neck
and an ultrasound probe will be used
to look for nodules.
If a nodule(s) is found, your neck
will be cleaned with alcohol. A fine
needle will be passed 3 to 6 times
into the nodule. A cytotechnologist
will be there to decide whether
enough samples have been obtained.
It can take from 15 to 60 minutes. It
will depend on how many nodules
Results will be sent to your doctor
within 5 days.
Patients often feel mild discomfort during
the procedure and some soreness for one to
two days after. A small amount of bruising
is also common.
You may resume your normal routine after
the test with no restrictions.
Endocrinology Clinic at (608) 263-5010,
Monday through Friday from 8am - 4:30pm.
After hours, weekends and holidays, you
will reach the paging operator. Ask to speak
to the resident on call for Endocrinology.
Leave your name and phone number with
the area code. The doctor will call you
If you live outside the area, call toll-free
Your health care team may have given you this information as part of your care. If so, please use it and call if you
have any questions. If this information was not given to you as part of your care, please check with your doctor. This
is not medical advice. This is not to be used for diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Because each
person’s health needs are different, you should talk with your doctor or others on your health care team when using
this information. If you have an emergency, please call 911. Copyright © 6/2016 University of Wisconsin Hospitals
and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#6368