A fine needle aspiration (FNA) biopsy or thyroid biopsy, is usually carried out to determine the nature of the cells in a thyroid nodule. The biopsy is done with a small needle, and local anesthesia is not generally required. Your physician should be advised if you have any medical conditions that increase your risk of bleeding, or if you are taking drugs that may increase your chances of bleeding during the biopsy, such as aspirin, other non-steroidal agents, anti-platelet agents, or blood thinners such as coumadin or warfarin.
Most studies have shown that the greater number of separate needle aspirations done at the time of the biopsy, the greater yield and ultimate accuracy of the biopsy procedure. Hence it is common practice for several attempts to be made in the course of the biopsy procedure, or for the needle to be inserted into a few different locations within the thyroid nodule.
Firm pressure applied locally to the biopsy site for about 5 minutes is usually sufficient to stop any bleeding that may develop following the biopsy. Some minor degree of discomfort in the neck, perhaps soreness or occasionally ear pain, may be noticeable for 1-3 days after the biopsy, but the majority of patients do not experience these complaints after thyroid biopsy.
Patients should be aware that thyroid biopsies may frequently not be diagnostic, and there are limitations to the success and utility of the biopsy procedure. These limitations include the local anatomy of the patients neck, the skill of the person carrying out the biopsy, and the experience of the cytopathologist examining the biopsy material. Furthermore, it is often not possible for even a superb experienced pathologist to make a determination of benign versus malignant thyroid cells, even if an excellent biopsy is obtained, depending on the nature of the underlying thyroid pathology.
How to prepare for your examination?
- Do not take any medications or vitamins that promote blood thinning at a minimum of 5 days before your exam. For example: Asprin, Tylenol, Ibuprofin, Alieve, Vitamin A, Vitamin E, Cod Liver Oil, Ginkoba. Please contact your pharmacist to verify all medications and vitamins that you are currently taking do not promote blood thinning. Please click here to review medications.
- Please arrive 30 minutes prior to your exam.
- Please contact our office at 281-453-7999 if you have any questions or to cancel or reschedule.
- There is a $50 charge for appointments not cancelled with a 24 hour notice.