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St. Joseph Hospital Endocrinology


Thyroid Biopsies

Dr. Robert Levine is co-director of the course in Thyroid Ultrasound and Ultrasound Guided Fine Needle Aspiration Biopsy, sponsored by the American College of Endocrinology. He has performed nearly 4000 biopsies over the past 25 years. He has lectured and published journal articles regarding proper technique of biopsy. Biopsies are performed in the office, usually at the time of the initial consultation. Dr Levine uses an extremely small needle, and the procedure results in very little discomfort. No special preparation is necessary, and full activity is resumed after the biopsy. The needle is inserted for 6-10 seconds and repeated 3-4 times. Local anesthesia is rarely required, as it tends to sting more than the biopsy itself. As the needle is visualized on ultrasound throughout the procedure, complications are extremely rare. The most common complication is a small bruise on the neck. The specimen is sent to Outpatient Pathology Associates (OPA) in California, experts in thyroid cytopathology. In December 2010 Dr. Levine and Dr. John Abele, director of OPA, published an editorial in the Journal Cancer-Cytopathology regarding thyroid biopsy and cytology.The two most common comments we hear after biopsies include, "That was it? Why was I so worried about that?" and "That was nothing like the biopsy I had done before."

Percutaneous Ethanol Injection

Large symptomatic thyroid and parathyroid cysts can be treated by draining and injection purified alcohol. Dr. Levine has extensive experience with this simple and effective procedure. This procedure can also be used in selected cases of recurrent thyroid cancer.