Need to Know
Nice to Know
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is This Exam Done?
Ultrasound-guided thyroid biopsy is a highly accurate way to evaluate suspicious masses within the thyroid that are visible on ultrasound, whether or not they can be felt on self-examination or clinical examination. The procedure prevents the need to remove tissue surgically and also eliminates the radiation exposure that comes from using x-rays to locate a mass.
What Will Happen During the Exam?
You will be positioned lying face up on the examination table your head turned slightly to the side. The lesion will be located by scanning your thyroid with the ultrasound transducer/probe. When the area is located you will be given a local anesthetic to numb the area. This may cause a slight sting but the area will become numb within a short time. The biopsy is performed using a very small needle, if discomfort is experienced, anesthetic can be administered.
Once the biopsy is complete, pressure will be applied to stop any bleeding and a small band-aid is placed over the site. You will be given an ice pack to prevent swelling. The tissue samples will be sent to the pathology laboratory for analysis with the results returned within 3-5 business days.
How Should I Prepare?
- There are no diet restrictions, eat and drink as usual
- You may perform normal daily activities prior to the procedure
- Take usual medications on exam day
- Aspirin and anticoagulants increase the risk of bleeding and bruising
- Patients taking anticoagulants (blood-thinners) or aspirin should contact the doctor managing those medications to see if they can safely stop them prior to the biopsy
What Are the Benefits and Risks?
The benefits of Thyroid Biopsy (Fine Needle Aspiration):
- The procedure is less invasive than surgical biopsy, leaves little or no scarring and can be performed in less than an hour
- Ultrasound imaging uses no ionizing radiation
Risks you should be aware of:
- Infection – Any procedure where the skin is penetrated carries a risk of infection.