Should I Get a Thyroid Biopsy?
Thyroid biopsies are typically performed in order to determine if lumps or nodules in the neck are cancerous. If you’ve been diagnosed with thyroid nodules, your doctor will most likely recommend having a biopsy. Although cancerous nodules are rare, it’s still important to find out whether or not yours are benign.
Reasons to Consider a Thyroid Biopsy
Thyroid nodules don’t always cause noticeable symptoms. You or your doctor might find them by feeling around the base of your neck for lumps. In some cases, these nodules can cause symptoms, such as shortness of breath, trouble swallowing, increased sweating, rapid heartbeat or nervousness. If you have any symptoms of thyroid nodules, you should see your doctor. If you receive a thyroid nodule diagnosis, you should consider having a thyroid biopsy done. This type of diagnostic measure determines if the nodules you have are cancerous or not. If they turn out to be cancerous, you can begin undergoing cancer treatment as soon as possible. Keep in mind that most nodules are benign.
Benefits of Thyroid Biopsies
Thyroid biopsies provide the following benefits:
- Early cancer detection: thyroid biopsies serve as a valuable diagnostic tool for finding cancerous nodules. Since they produce highly accurate results, this provides you with the opportunity to look into treatment options as soon as possible if you do end up having cancerous nodules. Starting treatment as early as possible improves your chance of successfully eliminating cancer and stopping it from spreading.
- Short procedure: thyroid biopsies using fine-needle aspiration only take a short time to complete. In general, these procedures take less than 30 minutes.
- Few risks: thyroid biopsies are considered safe for many patients.
What to Expect During a Thyroid Biopsy
If you get a thyroid biopsy, follow any instructions you receive beforehand, such as avoiding taking certain medications. Since fine-needle aspiration involves the use of a very thin needle, you shouldn’t need any local anesthesia. If you have a thyroid biopsy with ultrasound guidance, you can expect to have gel placed on your neck. This gel guides the ultrasound device. You might experience slight discomfort as the needle is placed into your thyroid. Although some biopsies only involve having the needle placed in your thyroid once, you might have it done a few times in order to collect different cell samples.
What Happens After a Thyroid Biopsy
After your thyroid biopsy, you should be able to get back to your regular activities. You’ll have a bandage on your neck, but you can typically take it off a few hours after going home. You might have some slight soreness at the biopsy site for a couple of days. Keep in mind that you might need to wait a few days or more to get the results of your biopsy. If the biopsy did not give clear results, you might need a repeat biopsy. Your doctor will discuss your results with you and let you know whether or not you’ll need treatment or additional testing.
If you need a thyroid biopsy, please contact Neighborhood Radiology Services to set up an appointment with our board-certified radiologists today.