A Fresh Cadaver Model for the Instruction of Ultrasound-Guided Fine-Needle Aspiration of Thyroid Nodules

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The aim of our study is to determine if a fresh cadaver model (FCM) for the instruction of ultrasound (US)–guided fine-needle aspiration (FNA) of thyroid nodules is a practical method for instruction.

Study Design

Pre- and postinstruction assessment of medical students’ ability to perform US-guided FNA of artificially created thyroid nodules placed adjacent to the thyroid gland of a fresh cadaver.


University-based fresh cadaver laboratory.

Subjects and Methods

Study participants included a total of 17 first- and second-year medical students with minimal US training. Technical skills were assessed using a 10-item checklist. In addition, a cognitive assessment regarding the indications, contraindications, and complications of the procedure was completed. A postinstruction assessment was provided for participants 5 weeks after their initial assessment. Differences between pre- and postinstruction assessment scores of technical skills were analyzed using McNemar’s test. The mean cognitive knowledge gain was analyzed using a paired 2-sample t test.


Eight of 10 items on the skills checklist were statistically significant between pre- and postinstruction skills assessment (P < .05). There was a statistically significant change in cognitive knowledge gain regarding the contraindications of the procedure (P = .001), but not for indications or complications (P = .104 and P = .111, respectively).


US-guided FNA continues to be an important diagnostic procedure in the workup of thyroid nodules, making it an essential skill to integrate into surgical skills lab. Our FCM for the instruction of US-guided FNA is the first of its kind, and this pilot study shows this is a viable method for instruction.

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