About half of all American adults develop a thyroid nodule by the age of 60. Thyroid nodules are abnormal clumps of cells that grow on your thyroid, a small gland located at the front of your neck.
More than 90% of thyroid nodules are noncancerous, but having a nodule may increase your risk of thyroid cancer and other types of thyroid disease. If you’re diagnosed with a thyroid nodule, it’s normal to have questions about what to do next.
You’ll probably need additional screenings to identify the cause and to inform your treatment plan, and our team at Endocrine Associates of West Village can help. At our offices in Long Island City and New York, New York, we offer neck ultrasounds, onsite thyroid fine needle aspiration (FNA) biopsies, and onsite cytopathology for thyroid nodules.
Here’s what you need to know about these screenings.
Why you might need a thyroid fine needle aspiration biopsy
You might need a thyroid FNA biopsy if your doctor diagnoses you with a thyroid nodule. While only a small portion of nodules are cancerous, it’s important to find out if yours is cancerous as early as possible.
Early identification increases the success rate of treatment, and thyroid FNA biopsy is one of the best ways to check for cancer. It’s a minimally invasive procedure that takes a small sample of tissue from the nodule and tests it for cancer cells.
Depending on your situation, thyroid FNA biopsy might not be your only option. Our team is also trained in thyroid ultrasound for nodules, which is a noninvasive screening.
Using high-frequency sound waves, ultrasound can determine if your thyroid nodule is fluid-filled or solid. It’s an effective way to examine your thyroid and any suspicious nodules that are present, but it can’t determine definitively if a nodule is cancerous.
Our team may combine ultrasound and FNA biopsy in some cases. The ultrasound imaging guides the needle placement, making biopsy on small or difficult-to-reach nodules more precise. Because we use the latest available technology, we guarantee a diagnosis with fewer needle punctures and no repeat biopsies required.
What to expect during thyroid fine needle aspiration biopsy
If you need a thyroid FNA biopsy, you may need to stop taking certain medications for a few days, but otherwise, there’s very little you need to do to prepare.
We clean your neck, and we may administer a topical or local anesthetic. You remain still while we carefully insert a tiny needle into your thyroid gland. Using gentle suction, we remove small samples of cells from your thyroid and nodules.
We place the cells onto a slide, which our cytopathologist evaluates onsite. Once we obtain the cell samples, we remove the needle and cover the area with a small bandage.
You’re free to go home as soon as the procedure is over. There’s no downtime required, but your neck may be sore for a day or two.
As the only clinic with onsite thyroid FNA cytology, we provide you with an accurate diagnosis in real time. Then, we discuss our findings with you. Noncancerous nodules generally don’t require treatment. But if your results are cancerous, you’ll likely need thyroid surgery to treat it.
Thyroid FNA biopsy is a simple and effective way to screen for thyroid cancer. If you have a thyroid nodule, talk to our team to learn about your options. Contact us online or call our offices to set up an appointment.