The thyroid is a gland located in the neck. It is a part of the endocrine (hormone) system, and plays a major role in regulating the body's metabolism. If a sample of cells is needed from the thyroid gland a fine needle biopsy can be performed. During this procedure, a skinny needle is inserted into the thyroid gland, and a sample of thyroid cells and fluid is drawn into the needle. The needle is then withdrawn and the cells are sent for examination. This test is usually performed to diagnose thyroid disease or thyroid cancer.
Review Date 1/7/2018
Updated by: Debra G. Wechter, MD, FACS, general surgery practice specializing in breast cancer, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.