During a thyroid biopsy, your doctor uses a thin needle to remove a small sample of tissue from your thyroid gland. You may be having the biopsy to find what is causing a lump or growth in your thyroid.
The biopsy causes very little pain. But your doctor may need to put the needle into your thyroid more than once. This is done to be sure enough fluid and tissue is taken for the test.
The doctor then looks at the tissue sample under a microscope for cancer, infection, or other thyroid problems.
The biopsy is done in a hospital, a clinic, or your doctor's office. During the test, you will lie on your back with a pillow under your shoulders. Your head will be tipped backward and your neck extended. This position pushes the thyroid gland forward. This makes it easier to do the biopsy.
You may be given medicine to help you relax. Your doctor may use an ultrasound to guide the placement of the needle.
It is important to lie very still during the biopsy. Do not cough, talk, or swallow when the needle is in place.
In some cases, thyroid surgery may be needed if a needle biopsy doesn't give a clear result. This would be done at a different time. In this surgery, the doctor takes a tissue sample through a cut (incision) in the skin.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
You do not need to do anything before your biopsy. You will be awake during the biopsy.
Procedures can be stressful. This information will help you understand what you can expect. And it will help you safely prepare for your procedure.
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Current as of: March 15, 2018
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
& E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
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