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Women's Health

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Thyroid Biopsy

How It Is Done continued...

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.

How It Feels

Needle biopsy

You may find it uncomfortable to lie still with your head tipped backward.

During a needle biopsy, you may feel a quick sting or pinch in your neck.

The biopsy site may be sore and tender for 1 to 2 days. You can take nonprescription pain medicine, such as acetaminophen, for the discomfort. Be safe with medicines. Read and follow all instructions on the label.

Open biopsy

You will be asleep and feel nothing during the biopsy. After the biopsy, you may have some nausea and general muscle aches and may feel tired for 1 to 2 days. You also may have a sore throat and sound hoarse. Suck on throat lozenges or gargle with warm salt water to help your sore throat.

The biopsy site may be sore and tender for 3 to 4 days. Your doctor will give you pain medicine for this.

After a thyroid biopsy, you may be more comfortable if you keep your head up on a pillow when you lie down. Support the back of your head and neck with both hands when you sit up to prevent discomfort at the biopsy site.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: November 14, 2014
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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