thyroid biopsies

A thyroid biopsy is used to determine the cause of a nodule in the thyroid gland. When a nodule is detected, imaging tests can be performed to help determine if it is benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous). If imaging studies cannot clearly define the abnormality, a biopsy may be necessary.

A thyroid biopsy, also referred to as a fine needle aspiration, involves removing cells from the thyroid gland and examining them under a microscope to determine a diagnosis. There are several imaging-guided biopsy procedures available, most of which can be performed on an outpatient basis using only a local anesthetic. These biopsies allow a radiologist to access hard to reach areas of the body – without surgery – while providing the same or even greater level of accuracy than a surgical biopsy.

Most studies show that the accuracy of the results is directly related to the greater number of separate needle aspirations done at the time of biopsy, making it common practice for several attempts to be made in the course of the procedure, or for the needle to be inserted into a few different locations within the thyroid nodule.

Firm pressure applied locally to the biopsy site for about five minutes after the procedure is usually sufficient to stop any resultant bleeding. Some minor discomfort in the neck or soreness of the ear may be noticeable for one to three days after the biopsy. However, most patients do not experience any residual discomfort after the procedure.

If you have concerns regarding the amount of radiation involved in any of the tests we offer, please contact us at (360) 425-5131.