Screw needle cytology of thyroid nodules is associated with a lower non-diagnostic rate compared to fine needle aspiration

Eur J Endocrinol. 2015 Nov;173(5):677-81. doi: 10.1530/EJE-15-0337. Epub 2015 Aug 26.


Background: Fine needle aspiration (FNA) cytology is the method of choice to exclude malignancy in thyroid nodules. A major limitation of thyroid FNA is the relatively high rate (13-17%) of non-diagnostic samples. The aim of this study is to determine the diagnostic yield of a screw needle compared to the conventional FNA.

Methods: We retrospectively analysed thyroid nodule cytology of all patients that underwent thyroid nodule fine needle or screw needle aspiration between July 2007 and July 2012 in a single academic medical centre. Cytology results were categorized according to the Bethesda classification system.

Results: In total, 644 punctures of thyroid nodules from 459 patients were available for analysis. The screw needle was used 531 times, and the conventional fine needle 113 times. The percentage of non-diagnostic cytology was significantly lower in the screw needle samples than in the fine needle samples (3% vs 17%, P<0.001).

Conclusion: This study shows a significantly better diagnostic performance of the screw needle compared to the conventional fine needle in cytology of thyroid nodules.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Biopsy, Fine-Needle / standards
  • Biopsy, Fine-Needle / statistics & numerical data
  • Biopsy, Needle / standards*
  • Biopsy, Needle / statistics & numerical data
  • Endoscopic Ultrasound-Guided Fine Needle Aspiration / standards
  • Endoscopic Ultrasound-Guided Fine Needle Aspiration / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Image-Guided Biopsy / standards*
  • Image-Guided Biopsy / statistics & numerical data
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Thyroid Nodule / diagnostic imaging
  • Thyroid Nodule / pathology*