SOLITARY THYROID NODULE – INVESTIGATIONS
I. Thyroid function test to check the status of thyroid hormones: T3, T4 and TSH.
II. Fine needle aspiration (FNA) biopsy
- It is the best way to rule out cancer in a suspicious thyroid nodule. This is performed in the out-patient clinic.
- Usually 2-3 biopsies are taken from the nodule and reading by an experienced pathologist is mandatory.
- FNA biopsy may be repeated if the pathological findings are inconclusive in spite of a clinically suspicious nodule (which occurs at times, if specimen is diluted with blood or with less cells).
- Ultrasound guided FNA biopsy is done in non palpable nodules.
III. Imaging studies
- Radioactive iodine scanning (RAI) and uptake may be helpful in cases of hyperthyroidism.
IV. Ultrasound scanning may be done to evaluate the number of thyroid nodules, to help in difficult biopsies, detection of calcification and for the follow-up.