There is a small chance of problems from a
thyroid biopsy, such as infection and bleeding.
can be a problem for people with bleeding disorders. Aspirin, warfarin
(such as Coumadin), and other blood-thinning medicines can make bleeding more likely.
Your doctor will give you specific instructions on when to call him or her with
After the test
Call your doctor immediately if
- A lot of bleeding through the
- A hard time swallowing.
- Signs of infection,
- Increased pain, swelling, redness, or
warmth around the biopsy site.
- Red streaks spreading from the
- Drainage of pus from the biopsy site.
- Swollen lymph nodes in the neck.
biopsy is a procedure in which a small sample of
tissue is removed from the
thyroid gland and looked at under a microscope for
cancer, infection, or other thyroid problems. Results from a thyroid biopsy are
usually available in a few days.
The biopsy shows normal thyroid
The biopsy sample shows thyroid disease
(such as inflammation of the thyroid gland), thyroid cancer, or a noncancerous
cyst is found at the time of a biopsy. Most cysts of
the thyroid gland are not cancerous.
What Affects the Test
Reasons you may not be able to
have the test or why the results may not be helpful include:
- If you have bleeding problems or take blood
thinners. People with these conditions will get specific instructions from
the doctor before the biopsy.
- If you can't lie still during a
needle biopsy. You may need
general anesthesia for the biopsy.
What To Think About
- A normal (negative) report on a thyroid biopsy
does not mean for sure that the thyroid gland is healthy. It is possible that a
problem may have been missed. Many thyroid tumors are small, and the biopsy
sample may come from an area of the thyroid that is free from disease. A
fine-needle biopsy can have a
- Your doctor may
not be able to use a needle biopsy to find out what is causing your symptoms.
An open thyroid biopsy may be needed.
- If a
thyroid nodule is found and thyroid hormone levels are
normal, most doctors recommend a thyroid needle biopsy instead of a radioactive thyroid scan.
- If a
thyroid nodule is found and high thyroid levels are present, a radioactive iodine
uptake (RAIU) test and a thyroid scan are generally recommended before a thyroid biopsy. Nodules
that cause hyperthyroidism are generally noncancerous (benign) and can be
treated with medicine or radioactive iodine. To learn more, see the
Radioactive Iodine Uptake Test.