Healthcare: Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism

FAQs Fine-Needle Aspiration Biopsy

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Drs. Suliburk, Grogan, and Zheng performing a fine needle aspiration biopsy on a patient.

Fine-needle aspiration biopsy of the thyroid nodule is a procedure in which a small sample of cells is obtained from a thyroid nodule with the aid of a thin needle under ultrasound guidance. Thereafter the cells are visualized under a microscope to help diagnose cancer, infection, or other thyroid problems. 

It is a safe and simple procedure usually done at a doctor’s office. 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. During the procedure, you may feel some neck pressure from the ultrasound probe and from the needle. You will be advised to remain as still as possible and avoid coughing, talking and swallowing during the biopsy.