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Fine Needle Aspiration

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Referred to as FNA or FNAB, fine needle aspiration biopsy is performed with ultrasound guidance to ensure placement of the needle within the thyroid nodule.

How is an FNA thyroid biopsy performed?

During the procedure a local anesthetic is applied, and the doctor uses a thin needle to withdraw cells from the thyroid. By comparison, the needle is smaller than those typically used to draw blood. This process only takes a few seconds before the needle is removed with a sample. Several samples are usually taken from various parts of the nodule. Ultrasound is often used to ensure the doctor is locating the right areas.

Once completed, pressure is applied to the area, typically making the procedure take 20-30 minutes in total. In our onsite lab the biopsy sample may be reviewed under a microscope right away for rapid diagnosis, or may take longer if further review or testing is required.

Who should be screened?

Doctors will suggest an FNA to help make a diagnosis or rule out various conditions. It’s important to make sure you are not on any blood thinners several days before the test. Consult with your doctor on any needed preparations.