A biopsy is a procedure in which a sample of tissue is removed from suspicious areas and analyzed by a physician specializing in pathology, to determine whether or not cancer is present. Biopsies done under ultrasound guidance are performed with a needle instead of subjecting the patient to surgery.
Biopsy of the thyroid gland, which is located in the front part of the neck, can be performed easily using ultrasound guidance.
What to expect
When you arrive for your appointment, we will give you a detailed explanation of the procedure you will undergo. We will ask you to sign a consent form and change into a gown.
During the procedure, you will lie on your back on a padded table and once you are in position, your skin will be cleaned and numbed. Using an ultrasound machine to image and guide to the suspicious area, the radiologist will insert a thin, hollow needle into the area and withdraw a sample of tissue. Once a satisfactory sample has been obtained, the site will be dressed with gauze and surgical tape, and you will be allowed to leave.
Very little preparation is required for this procedure. You should eat your normal meals before arriving for the procedure. We will ask you, however, to discontinue taking aspirin and other blood-thinning medications for about five days preceding your biopsy. Any such restrictions will be discussed with you when we schedule your procedure.
Side effects and complications
Needle biopsies generally are considered very safe and effective. Any procedure that involves piercing the skin introduces risk of infection or bleeding. All of these procedures are performed with sterile techniques to reduce the chance of an infection.
The radiologist will discuss any possible complications with you and will answer your questions before you sign the consent form.
If after this procedure your physician determines that additional tissue is needed for a thorough analysis, you may still have to undergo a surgical biopsy.
You may feel a little soreness, and minor bruising at the biopsy site, but generally no follow-up care is necessary.