Techniques for thyroid FNA: a synopsis of the National Cancer Institute Thyroid Fine-Needle Aspiration State of the Science Conference

Diagn Cytopathol. 2008 Jun;36(6):407-24. doi: 10.1002/dc.20829.


The National Cancer Institute (NCI) sponsored the NCI Thyroid fine-needle aspiration (FNA) State of the Science Conference on October 22-23, 2007 in Bethesda, MD. The 2-day meeting was accompanied by a permanent informational website and several on-line discussion periods between May 1 and December 15, 2007 ( This document summarizes matters addressing manual and ultrasound guided FNA technique and related issues. Specific topics covered include details regarding aspiration needles, devices, and methods, including the use of core needle biopsy; the pros and cons of anesthesia; the influence of thyroid lesion location, size, and characteristics on technique; the role of ultrasound in the FNA of a palpable thyroid nodule; the advantages and disadvantages of various specialists performing a biopsy; the optimal number of passes and tissue preparation methods; sample adequacy criteria for solid and cystic nodules, and management of adverse reactions from the procedure. (

MeSH terms

  • Anesthesia
  • Biopsy, Fine-Needle / adverse effects
  • Biopsy, Fine-Needle / instrumentation
  • Biopsy, Fine-Needle / methods*
  • Humans
  • Palpation
  • Thyroid Gland / diagnostic imaging
  • Thyroid Gland / pathology*
  • Thyroid Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Thyroid Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging
  • Thyroid Neoplasms / pathology
  • Thyroid Nodule / diagnosis
  • Thyroid Nodule / diagnostic imaging
  • Thyroid Nodule / pathology*
  • Ultrasonography