Survey of current approaches to non-diagnostic fine-needle aspiration from solid thyroid nodules

Juan P. Brito, M. Regina Castro, Diana S. Dean, Vahab Fatourechi, Marius Stan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


The exact frequency of non-diagnostic ultrasound-guided fine-needle aspiration (USFNA) is unknown. Clinical guidelines suggest repeating USFNA of these nodules. However, there is no specific recommendation or evidence on how and when this re-aspiration should be done. We aim to describe the approaches considered by endocrinologists to yield the highest likelihood of a satisfactory sample in solid thyroid nodules. A cross-sectional survey of The Endocrine Society (TES) and the American Thyroid Association members was conducted between October and December 2012. A total of 694 surveys were returned, 648 (93.4 %) from TES. The responders were equally divided between private and academic settings and had a high degree of expertise. Thirty-nine percent of respondents estimated the frequency of non-diagnostic USFNA to be above 10 %. For its management, 311 (46 %) recommended repeating USFNA in 1–3 months. For a second non-diagnostic USFNA, 216 (31 %) recommend surgery. The most common approaches to increase the diagnostic yield were (1) use of suction with USFNA, 18 % and (2) changing the targeted area of biopsy within the nodule, 18 %. Few considered the patients’ preferences as an important driver for the management of non-diagnostic USFNA. Finally, a molecular test for bypassing non-diagnostic USFNA was regarded as the most needed strategy for future research. Variability exists in the management of non-diagnostic USFNA and strategies to increase the diagnostic yield. Testing the suggested strategies in clinical trials and understanding patient’s preferences should be supported by guideline panels and funding agencies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)745-751
Number of pages7
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 27 2015


  • FNA
  • Survey
  • Thyroid nodules

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


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