Fine-Needle Thyroid Biopsy: What to Expect at Home

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Your Recovery

Thyroid gland

During your biopsy, your doctor placed a thin needle through your skin and into your thyroid gland to take a sample of tissue.

This may have been done to find what is causing a lump or growth in your thyroid.

You may find it uncomfortable to lie still with your head tipped backward. The biopsy site may be sore and tender for 1 to 2 days.

This care sheet gives you a general idea about how long it will take for you to recover. But each person recovers at a different pace. Follow the steps below to feel better as quickly as possible.

How can you care for yourself at home?

Activity

  • Rest when you feel tired. Getting enough sleep will help you recover.

Diet

  • You can eat your normal diet. If your stomach is upset, try bland, low-fat foods like plain rice, broiled chicken, toast, and yogurt.

Medicines

  • Your doctor will tell you if and when you can restart your medicines. He or she will also give you instructions about taking any new medicines.
  • If you take blood thinners, such as warfarin (Coumadin), clopidogrel (Plavix), or aspirin, be sure to talk to your doctor. He or she will tell you if and when to start taking those medicines again. Make sure that you understand exactly what your doctor wants you to do.
  • Take pain medicines exactly as directed.
    • If the doctor gave you a prescription medicine for pain, take it as prescribed.
    • If you are not taking a prescription pain medicine, ask your doctor if you can take an over-the-counter medicine.
  • If you think your pain medicine is making you sick to your stomach:
    • Take your medicine after meals (unless your doctor has told you not to).
    • Ask your doctor for a different pain medicine.

Incision care

Keep the biopsy site covered and dry for 48 hours. A small amount of bleeding from the biopsy site can be expected. Ask your doctor how much drainage to expect.

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.

When should you call for help?

Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:

  • You have severe trouble breathing.

Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You have a lot of bleeding through the bandage.
  • You have a hard time swallowing.
  • You have new or worsening pain.
  • You have symptoms of infection, such as:
    • Increased pain, swelling, warmth, or redness.
    • Red streaks leading from the biopsy site.
    • Pus draining from the biopsy site.
    • A fever.

Watch closely for any changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:

  • You're not getting better as expected.
  • You notice a change in your voice.

Where can you learn more?

Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

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