Thyroid Biopsy

About Thyroid Biopsy 

An ultrasound-guided thyroid biopsy is a non-surgical, minimally invasive outpatient procedure that uses sound waves (ultrasound) to obtain tissue samples for microscopic examination. Ultrasound guidance is used to find the area and then small samples of tissue will be removed using a small needle. These tissue samples are sent to the pathologist for review.  


Need to Know 

  • If you take blood thinners, talk to your doctor beforehand about adjusting or stopping this medication
  • Inform the staff of any allergies to latex, lidocaine or if you currently take any blood thinning medications
  • You will receive post procedure instructions including what to do if you experience swelling and bruising following your biopsy or experience discomfort not resolved with non-aspirin pain relief
  • Temporary bruising is normal
  • The entire procedure is usually completed within an hour. The actual biopsy is performed in a few minutes.

Nice to Know 

  • You will be awake during your biopsy and should have little or no pain/discomfort
  • You will be a gown to change into
  • Local anesthesia will be injected to eliminate discomfort and the staff will closely monitor your pain status
  • You will be able to resume normal activities after the biopsy

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.

Where Can I Get This Exam?

We perform thyroid biopsies in our Farmington office.