How It Is Done continued...
A needle biopsy is done in a
hospital, clinic, or your doctor's office. During the test, you will lie on
your back with a pillow under your shoulders, your head tipped backward, and
your neck extended. This position pushes the thyroid gland forward, making it
easier to do the biopsy. It is important to lie very still during the biopsy.
Do not cough, talk, or swallow when the needle is in place. A needle biopsy takes
about 5 to 10 minutes.
Before the biopsy, you may be given a
medicine (sedative) to help you relax. Your doctor cleans the
skin over your thyroid gland with a special soap.
Your doctor may
ultrasound to guide the placement of the needle. He or
she will put a thin needle into your thyroid gland and take out a small amount
of thyroid tissue and fluid. The tissue is looked at under a microscope.
A small bandage is placed over the area where the needle was
An open biopsy of the thyroid gland is
done in an operating room by a
surgeon. It is done when other tests have not found
the cause of your symptoms. An open biopsy takes about an hour.
may be given a sedative to help you relax. An
intravenous (IV) line is inserted in a vein in your
arm for medicine and fluids. You will be asleep for the biopsy.
skin over your thyroid gland is cleaned with a special soap. A small cut
(incision) is made in your neck. A sample of thyroid tissue is taken or your
doctor can take out a lump if one is present. Some thyroid tissue may be sent
to the laboratory during the biopsy to see whether it has cancer cells. If
cancer cells are present, your doctor may take out more or all of the thyroid
The incision is closed with stitches. A bandage is put over
the stitches. Keep the biopsy site covered and dry for 48 hours. A small amount
of bleeding from the biopsy site can be expected. Ask your doctor how much
drainage to expect. Some people may need to stay in the hospital for one
Open biopsy is not as commonly done as needle biopsy.