What is an imaging-guided fine needle aspiration (biopsy) of the thyroid?
An imaging guided biopsy allows the radiologist to sample the cell tissues in your thyroid without surgery. Ultrasound is used to find the area. The radiologist removes samples of your thyroid cells using a special needle. The tissue samples are sent to the cytologist for diagnosis. A lab report is sent to your health care provider several days after your biopsy. Your healthcare provider will go over the results with you.
What to do prior to your biopsy
Please pre-register by telephone before your scheduled appointment by calling 212-3151. If you register the day of your appointment, please arrive 15 minutes early. If you have had a prior thyroid ultrasound performed at another facility, please have those films available at PIC at the time of your appointment.
There are no diet restrictions; eat and drink as usual. Take your usual medications on the day of your appointment.
What to expect during the procedure
Your skin will be prepared with an antiseptic cleaning solution before the radiologist administers lidocaine, a local anesthetic that will numb an area about the size of a quarter. Several tissue samples will be obtained. As the samples are taken, you will feel the radiologist moving the needle. During the procedure you will be informed about what is occurring. Some people experience pain to the jaw or the ear - this is normal. If you experience discomfort during the procedure, the radiologist can administer more local anesthetic.
What happens after the procedure
- Take a non-aspirin pain reliever like Tylenol, Advil, Motrin, etc., if you experience any discomfort.
- Check the biopsy area daily. If you notice excessive pain, bleeding, swelling, drainage, redness or the area is warm
to the touch, please call PIC or your clinician's office.
- You should be able to drive or return to work following your biopsy.
Note: You may notice some bruising of the biopsy area which should go away in about a week. You may also have a very small amount of bleeding. If bleeding occurs after you leave Providence Imaging Center, apply continuous direct pressure over the incision site for 15 minutes and replace the bandages.
Results and follow-up
Your healthcare provider should contact you with the results of your thyroid biopsy several days after the procedure.
Contact your clinician's office if you have any questions. You may also contact the Providence Imaging Center nurse at 212-3607.
Thyroid Biopsy Instructions (printable PDF)