Thyroid Biopsy

The patient does not have to come to a fine-needle biopsy on an empty stomach.

It is an easy to conduct, low-risk and relatively painless method for the patient with which tissue can be obtained from the thyroid with a thin needle or from other organs for examination of individual cells or cell layers.

Course of the examination:

After disinfecting the skin, a fine hollow needle is inserted into the skin. Local anaesthesia is not necessary because the needle is only inserted once and in the case of anaesthesia, an additional puncturing of the skin would be required. Under sonographic monitoring, the fine needle is guided into the area, which is to be examined. The hollow needle extracts a sample of the cell material from this specific area. After the needle is removed, slight compression with a cotton swab on the puncture point suffices.

What are the indications for a fine-needle biopsy?

  • clinical and/or sonographic or scintigraphic thyroid nodule, which is possibly a malignant tumour
  • planning of the surgical procedure if operative remedial action is planned irrespective of the cytologic findings
  • suspicion of local recurrence in the case of known thyroid cancer
  • suspicion of metastases in the thyroid
  • nodules in the thyroid with metastases of an unknown primary tumour
  • drainage puncture for large thyroid cysts
  • diagnosis and pathogen detection with acute sanious thyroiditis without indication of surgery
  • subacute thyroiditis de Quervain
  • in the event of indistinctive cases
  • chronic auto-immune thyroiditis in diagnostically indistinctive cases
  • focal findings in the case of chronic auto-immune thyroiditis for the conclusion of lymphoma


  • significantly increased bleeding tendency
  • taking of coagulation-inhibiting medication

Before a thyroid biopsy is carried out, a thyroid sonography and a thyroid scintigraphy should be conducted. The diagnostic value of the fine-needle biopsy is markedly high however, also dependent on the experience of the physician taking the biopsy and the pathological institute, which examines the obtained cells.