Needle tract sinus following aspiration biopsy of papillary thyroid carcinoma: a case report

Acta Cytol. 2008 Mar-Apr;52(2):211-4. doi: 10.1159/000325483.


Background: Fine needle aspiration biopsy (FNAB) of the thyroid is a simple and safe investigation. Dissemination of malignant cells during FNA for papillary thyroid carcinoma is extremely uncommon.

Case: We report a 49-year-old woman who presented with a multicystic goiter and palpable cervical lymph nodes. Three sessions of FNAB (a total of 12 needle passes) from a complex cyst overlying the thyroid isthmus using a 22-gauge needle failed to reveal malignant cells. Following the FNAs she developed a persistent discharging sinus at the needle insertion site. Exploration of the neck and histopathologic examination confirmed a well-differentiated papillary thyroid carcinoma infiltrating the skin and strap muscles at a single focus. Debulking surgery with adjuvant radiotherapy had a satisfactory outcome in our patient.

Conclusion: Skin sinus formation might have been prevented in our case by using a needle with a caliber < 22 gauge and avoiding multiple sessions of aspiration of the same thyroid nodule.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Biopsy, Fine-Needle / adverse effects*
  • Carcinoma, Papillary / pathology*
  • Carcinoma, Papillary / therapy
  • Female
  • Goiter / pathology*
  • Goiter / therapy
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Seeding*
  • Radiotherapy, Adjuvant
  • Skin Diseases / etiology*
  • Skin Diseases / pathology
  • Thyroid Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Thyroid Neoplasms / therapy
  • Thyroid Nodule / pathology*
  • Thyroid Nodule / therapy
  • Thyroidectomy
  • Thyroxine / therapeutic use
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Thyroxine