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Thyroid gland biopsy

General

An ultrasound-guided cytological biopsy, also called fine needle aspiration cytology (FNAC) is, in many cases, the most precise diagnostic method for work-up of a tumor in the thyroid gland. WIth today's ultrasound equipment, the point of the needle can be placed within an area of about 2-3 mm.

For ultrasound guided FNAC of the thyroid gland, it is important that a cytologist or screener is present to immediately evaluate the quality of the material. This facilitates collection of a high number of representative samples. It also allows opportunities for collecting material for supplementary examinations.

In certain cases, it will be necessary to take a supplementary tissue sample for a histological biopsy to make a more definite diagnosis.

Indications

  • Palpable tumor
  • Solitary or dominant tumor ≥ 1 cm detected by ultrasound examination
  • Diffuse and enlarged, rapid-growing tumor in the thyroid gland

For a tumor that is not palpable < 1 cm, FNA is indicated if: 

  • there is familial accumulation of the disease
  • the patient has previously been irradiated to the neck
  • there are detected suspect lymph nodes in the neck
  • ultrasound finding gives suspicion of malignancy

Goal

  • Diagnose a tumor in the thyroid gland

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