Ultrasound is frequently used to evaluate thyroid abnormalities detected by the patient or their doctor. Ultrasound allows for obtaining images of the thyroid from almost any orientation. In some cases it is not possible to tell from the imaging studies alone whether a growth is benign or cancerous.
Ultrasound-guided thyroid biopsy is a highly accurate way to evaluate suspicious nodules and it can help determine if an area in question is a cyst or a growth. This biopsy procedure prevents the need to remove normal tissue surgically.
About the Procedure
Generally, this procedure is requested to determine the nature of a nodule in the thyroid. The large majority of these nodules are benign (non-cancerous) growths or cysts; however, this procedure identifies the very small number that need further treatment. This procedure is more than 90% accurate. Thyroid Biopsies are minimally invasive, but a slight risk of bleeding does exist whenever the skin is penetrated.
No special preparations are needed prior to the exam.
During the Procedure
Using an ultrasound machine as a guide, a Radiologist inserts a very small needle into the thyroid nodule and cells are removed. These are then evaluated under a microscope. In general, only a small amount of local anesthesia is used.
After the Procedure
You may drive home following the procedure. You may resume your regular activities and diet. Soreness at the biopsy site may require treatment with over the counter pain medicines or application of an ice pack.
Tissue samples are sent to the laboratory for analysis. The results will be available within 5 business days. You will receive the results from your referring physician.