What is Thyroid Nodule Biopsy?

At the base of your neck is an endocrine gland (thyroid gland) that secretes thyroid hormone and plays vital bodily functions, including affecting protein synthesis and regulating long bone growth. Sometimes nodules can form in your thyroid gland due to different causes, including thyroid cysts and overgrowth of normal thyroid tissue. Most thyroid nodules are not severe and hardly cause symptoms, and only a small percentage are cancerous. If your doctor uncovers a fluid-filled lump within your thyroid, they may recommend a Newport Beach thyroid nodule biopsy to confirm whether the growth is cancerous.

What is thyroid nodule biopsy?

A thyroid nodule biopsy is a minimally invasive diagnostic procedure that your physician uses to examine tissue from your thyroid gland closely. The process involves removing cells in your thyroid gland using a hollow needle. The doctor then sends the sample to the lab for analysis. However, not everyone with thyroid nodules requires a thyroid fine-needle aspiration biopsy. Your doctor may first scan your neck with ultrasound or computed tomography. Sometimes those tests are enough to tell whether the growth is malignant or not. A blood test to detect your thyroid levels also provides helpful information. You may also need a biopsy to confirm if you have a thyroid nodule.

How do I prepare for a biopsy?

Usually, there’s little to do before a thyroid fine-needle aspiration biopsy. As a rule of thumb, you need to consult your doctor for any medical procedure. Your healthcare provider may ask about your current medications during an initial consultation. If you are taking over-the-counter medications such as aspirin and ibuprofen, you may need to discontinue their use. Eating and drinking before the procedure shouldn’t result in any problems. Your doctor may also discuss the risks of the procedure and what the process entails with you.

Possible risks of thyroid fine-needle aspiration biopsy

Thyroid biopsy is a relatively safe procedure, but it does carry some slight risks. For example, you may bleed at the incision site and sometimes develop an infection. The process can also damage other surrounding structures near the thyroid. Fortunately, the last complication is rare since doctors use an ultrasound guide during the procedure for accuracy. Another potential downside to the process is that the results may not be correct, meaning you may need a repeat biopsy.

What does the procedure involve?

Your doctor may use local anesthesia to numb a part of your neck and make you comfortable during the procedure. Numbing is not necessary for adults most of the time because the needle is so tiny. Next, the doctor applies a gel-like substance to your neck and uses an ultrasound detector to see the thyroid gland. The ultrasound facilitates accuracy and ensures that the needles don’t damage nearby structures. Your healthcare provider then inserts a needle through your skin and advances the needle to the nodule. You may feel some pain as this occurs, but the pain subsides almost immediately once the needle is out. After removing the cells, the sample is sent to the lab for close examination.

If you need to learn more about thyroid nodule biopsy, consult with your doctor today at Dr. Sean P. Nikravan, MD.

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