Needle Biopsy for detection of thyroid problems

Needle biopsy is the 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 trachea, just below the larynx. The procedure is also called needle aspiration. Needle Biopsy of the Thyroid is usually done to find the cause of a nodule in the thyroid gland. On detection of a nodule, imaging tests are performed to determine if it is benign or cancerous.

A thin, fine- gauge needle is used that is smaller in diameter as compared to the needle used in most blood draws. Before the biopsy, a sedative is given for relaxation. During the test, the patient lies on the back with a pillow on his shoulder and neck extended. This posture pushes the thyroid gland forward making it easier to do the biopsy. During the biopsy, the patient is not supposed to cough or swallow. The entire procedure takes about five to ten minutes.

The doctor puts a thin needle into the thyroid gland and takes out a small amount of thyroid tissue and fluid. The tissue is examined under the microscope. During the insertion of the needle, the patient may feel uncomfortable to lie still with the head tipped backward.

After the test, you can call the doctor if you have a lot of bleeding or swollen lymph nodes in the neck or have signs of infection such as swelling, pain, redness, around the biopsy site. The site may be sore for a day or two.

A needle biopsy is an image-guided, minimally invasive procedure performed by a specially trained radiologist with experience in needle aspiration.


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