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Pediatric Fine Needle Aspiration
What is the thyroid gland?
The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped organ found in the neck just below the Adam’s apple. The thyroid gland is responsible for producing thyroid hormone, an important hormone that stimulates the metabolism of the body.
What is a fine needle aspirate (FNA) of the thyroid?
First, your child's doctor in the Children's National Hospital Interventional Radiology program will perform an ultrasound to look for abnormal-looking areas (nodules, cysts or masses) on the thyroid gland. The doctor will insert a very thin needle into the gland and withdraw a tiny sample of tissue or fluid. Another doctor will look at the sample under a microscope to determine what might be wrong. The lab results will be sent to the referring physician who will communicate with you. It usually takes a couple of days to get the lab results.
Younger patients are usually given intravenous (IV) sedation or general anesthesia so they aren’t awake during the FNA procedure. If your child is older or has medical problems that prevent us from giving IV sedation, your child will remain awake. We will use a numbing medicine at the place where the needle will go in.
Your child will feel a needle prick when we inject numbing medicine (if your child is not sedated). Your child won’t feel any pain during the procedure, and most children don’t have any pain after this procedure.
The entire FNA procedure takes approximately 30 minutes.
FNA is considered a low risk procedure. However, potential complications include:
- Injury to adjacent structures
There are no activity restrictions. The doctor will place a small bandage over the place where the needle went in. Your child can bathe as normal and return to school and any other activities.
Learn about treatment
Interventional Radiology at Children's National Hospital
Our pediatric interventional radiologists perform a full range of minimally invasive, image-guided procedures to both diagnose and treat disease in infants, children and adolescents. Discover more about the treatment we offer.
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