What to Expect From a Thyroid Nodule Biopsy

What to Expect From a Thyroid Nodule Biopsy

Thyroid nodules are far from uncommon — by the time people reach age 60, about half will have a thyroid nodule — and most of these people are unaware of its presence. If circumstances have led us to discover a thyroid nodule in your neck, our next step is to evaluate the growth with a quick-and-easy biopsy.

Dr. Sean P. Nikravan is a board-certified endocrinologist who has extensive experience with thyroid issues. From thyroid nodules to thyroid disease, our practice understands the many conditions that can develop in this gland.

Anytime we discover a growth in your thyroid, our first step is to perform a thyroid nodule biopsy so we can analyze the cells. Here’s a look at what you can expect from this simple procedure.

What happens during your thyroid nodule biopsy

When you come in for your scheduled biopsy appointment, we get you comfortable in the treatment room and clean the area of your neck that we’re going to access. Then we give you a local anesthetic so you don’t feel any discomfort during the procedure.

When you’re ready, we use ultrasound-guided imaging to help us direct a very thin needle into your nodule. Once the needle is in position, we aspirate (draw out) a sample of the cells. We may perform this fine-needle aspiration in more than one area, but the procedure, in total, shouldn’t take us more than 30 minutes to complete.

After we have the tissue samples we need, you’re free to go. Because we only use a local anesthetic, you can drive yourself home after your biopsy, so you don’t need to arrange for a ride.

Getting your results

For our part, we need to perform some lab work on the biopsy, so it may take a week or so before we can give you the results. 

While cancer is a big concern, we want you to know that 90% of identified thyroid nodules are benign and don’t pose any serious problems.

If your nodule is benign but causing symptoms, such as difficulty swallowing, we can discuss next steps for removing the nodule to remedy your discomfort. The goal of the biopsy is to make sure that we can proceed with treating your symptomatic thyroid nodule as a standalone issue.

If we do discover cancerous cells in your biopsy, we evaluate the cancer to determine our next steps. Thyroid cancer is highly treatable, especially if we can intervene quickly.

If you have more questions about your upcoming thyroid nodule biopsy, please contact our office in Newport Beach, California, to set up a consultation. You can also request an appointment with Dr. Nikravan through this website.

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