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PLoS One. 2013;8(3):e58016. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0058016. Epub 2013 Mar 11.

Does large needle aspiration biopsy add pain to the thyroid nodule evaluation?

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  • 1Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, University of Pisa, Pisa, Italy. angelo.carpi@med.unipi.it


Thyroid large needle aspiration biopsy is disregarded because it is thought to be associated with pain. This is in contrast with our 32 years long experience. We surveyed reports of pain in patients examined with fine needle aspiration biopsy (78, 87.2% women, mean age 59 years) or FNAB+large needle aspiration biopsy (48, 87.5% women, mean age 60 years). Each patient was questioned regarding a) no unpleasant sensation (score "0"); b) unpleasant sensation ("1"); c) mild pain (no analgesic used; "2"); or d) pain (analgesic used; "3"). The mean size of the needle used was for FNAB 22.3±0.7 or 20.8±1 gauge in the fine needle aspiration or fine needle aspiration plus large needle aspiration biopsy group, respectively (p<.0001). The number of percutaneous punctures was higher in the fine needle aspiration plus large needle aspiration biopsy group. However, the pain score in the fine needle aspiration biopsy or fine needle aspiration biopsy plus large needle aspiration biopsy group was not significantly different. Large needle aspiration biopsy after fine needle aspiration biopsy does not add any discomfort or pain and therefore in light of the demonstrable benefits, should be included in clinical algorithms for the evaluation of thyroid nodules.

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