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Thyroid Biopsy

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 use an 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 inserted.

Open biopsy

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.

You 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.

The 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 gland.

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 night.

Open biopsy is not as commonly done as needle biopsy.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: May 31, 2011
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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