Langenbeck's Archives of Surgery

, Volume 395, Issue 7, pp 873–876 | Cite as

Is fine-needle aspiration cytology for thyroid nodules a routine and safe procedure? A series of emergency cervicotomies following FNAC

  • Gianluca DonatiniEmail author
  • Tiziano Masoni
Endocrine Surgery



Fine-needle aspiration cytology (FNAC) is a widely used diagnostic tool to assess thyroid lesions, with a low morbidity rate. Although neck hematomas following FNAC are reported, only four cases of massive hemorrage resulting in acute airways obstruction have been previously described.


We report a series of three emergency cervicotomies for a massive neck hematoma causing acute respiratory distress after a thyroid FNAC.


Endotracheal intubation followed by decompressive cervicotomy and surgical neck exploration was made in all patients. Two patients underwent isthmectomy, while a left thyroid lobectomy plus left lateral neck limphadenectomy was performed in the third case. Extubation was achieved within 12 h in the ICU. All patients were discharged uneventfully within 72 h.


Acute thyroid hemorrage is a very rare but possible complication of FNAC, potentially fatal for the patient. Prompt evaluation and intervention is mandatory for patients with rapidly evolving symptoms.


Thyroid Airways obstruction Neck hematoma Fine-needle aspiration cytology 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Unit of General SurgeryHospital of MassaMassaItaly
  2. 2.BuggianoItaly

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