What is a Thyroid Biopsy and what does it do?
A thyroid 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. The thyroid gland is found in front of the windpipe (trachea), just below the voice box (larynx).
Why is it done?
A thyroid biopsy is done to:
- Find the cause of a lump (nodule) found in the thyroid gland. Lumps in the thyroid gland may be found during a physical examination or seen on a thyroid ultrasound test or radioactive thyroid scan.
- Find the cause of a goiter. Symptoms of a goiter include breathing and swallowing problems, paralyzed vocal cords, a feeling of fullness in the neck, and weight loss.
Who performs the test?
An ultrasonographer specifically trained or certified in Ultrasound imaging.
Where does it take place?
Jackson Hospital Outpatient Center Hudnall Building, Room 110, located adjacent to the Hospital.
How long does it take?
This exam generally takes about 30 minutes to complete.
What can I do to make it a success?
Tell your doctor if you:
- Take any medicines regularly. Be sure your doctor knows the names and doses of all your medicines.
- Are allergic to any medicines, including anesthetics.
- Have had bleeding problems or take blood-thinners, such as aspirin or warfarin (Coumadin, for example).
Before having a thyroid biopsy, you may need to have blood tests to see whether you have any bleeding problems or blood-clotting disorders.
What should I do before the exam?
No special preparation is needed for this study. You will need to remove jewelry from your head or neck before the test.
What happens during the exam?
First, the technologist will explain the exam and may ask you historical questions that aid in obtaining a more diagnostic exam. You may be asked to undress above the waist and drape a towel or sheet around your shoulders. Remove all jewelry from your head or around your neck.
Before the biopsy, the skin over your thyroid gland will be cleaned with a special soap.
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.
Ultrasound will be used to guide the placement of the needle. Your doctor will put a thin needle into your thyroid gland and take out a small amount of thyroid tissue and fluid. The tissue will be sent to the lab to be reviewed under a microscope.
A small bandage is placed over the area where the needle was inserted.
What should I do after the exam?
The radiologist will review your image(s) and a final report will go to your ordering physician in 24–48 hours.
Ultrasound Department (at main hospital): (850) 718-2582
Ultrasound Department (at OP Center): (850) 526-6702
Radiology Department: (850) 718-2580
Hospital (main operator): (850) 526-2200