Thyroid Biopsy

What is Thyroid Biopsy?


During a fine needle aspiration biopsy of the thyroid, a small sample of cells is removed from the thyroid gland.

Samples of the cells are put on a slide for review by the pathologist.

The pathologist will examine the cells under a microscope to determine if they are benign or cancerous.

How to prepare


Please notify your physician if you are taking any blood thinning agents, such as aspirin, Lovenox®, Plavix® or Coumadin®.

There is no special preparation required for this procedure.

What to expect


During the test, you will lie on your back with your head tilted back and your neck extended.

Your neck will be cleansed with an antiseptic. An ultrasound transducer with a small amount of sterile gel will be placed on your neck over the thyroid nodule. The radiologist will insert a thin needle through the skin under ultrasound guidance, advance it to the site of the thyroid nodule and aspirate samples of tissue. Several specimens may be needed for a complete analysis.

You may feel some pressure on your neck from the ultrasound transducer and mild discomfort as the needle is moved to obtain the cells.

You will be asked to remain still and not to cough, talk or swallow during the procedure.

Once the biopsy is complete, pressure will be applied to the area to decrease the risk of bleeding.

This procedure is usually completed in less than 30 minutes.

The biopsy site may be sore and tender for one to two days. You may take nonprescription pain medicine, such as acetaminophen, to relieve any discomfort.