Thyroid Biopsy


If you have developed an enlarged thyroid gland or a nodule has formed, your physician may recommend a Thyroid Biopsy.

There are different types of thyroid biopsies. At Jefferson Surgical Interventional Center in Roanoke, Virginia, we perform minimally invasive thyroid biopsies under ultrasound guidance. This procedure is also called a fine needle aspiration biopsy of the thyroid.

During the ultrasound-guided biopsy, your interventional radiologist will use ultrasound technology to guide the insertion of a small hollow needle into your thyroid nodule. The needle will capture cells from the nodule that will help your physician determine whether the thyroid nodule is benign (not cancerous) or malignant (cancerous).

If a fine needle biopsy can’t be performed or doesn’t yield conclusive results, your physician may recommend an open biopsy. The open Thyroid Biopsy involves an incision that will allow your surgeon to see the thyroid gland and extract a larger sample for further testing.

Benefits of ultrasound-guided Thyroid Biopsy

Fast recovery: There’s no incision made during an ultrasound-guided biopsy, so the recovery time is very fast. In most cases, the ultrasound-guided biopsy is an outpatient procedure.

Quality sample: The ultrasound guidance allows your interventional radiologist to “see” the thyroid gland or the nodule and take the sample from the right spot.

Lower-risk: You aren’t fully sedated during an ultrasound-guided biopsy – we only numb the local area – so there’s little risk with the anesthesia. And there’s no incision, so the risk of infection is also lower.

Minimally invasive: The ultrasound guidance gives us a visual of the thyroid without an incision so we don’t cause any disruption to the surrounding tissue.

To make an appointment for an ultrasound-guided Thyroid Biopsy, please call 540-283-3881 or email us for more information.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do I need a Thyroid Biopsy?
There is an indication that there may be a problem with your thyroid gland.
How do I prepare for a Thyroid Biopsy?

You should not eat or drink anything after midnight the night before your procedure.

Tell your doctor if you have had any kidney problems or reactions to x-ray dye or contrast. If so, your doctor may want to prescribe medicine for you to take before your procedure.

Ask your doctor about taking your regular medications prior to your Thyroid Biopsy, especially Coumadin. Your doctor may want to stop your Coumadin for a few days prior to your procedure. Generally, your medications may be taken with a little sip of water. Please bring all medications you are currently taking with you on the day of your exam.

If you are a diabetic, consult your doctor about your diabetes medications.

Arrange for someone to drive you home and stay with you until the next day. You will not be able to drive, leave by yourself, or take a cab home without a companion.

Please notify your physician if there is any possibility that you are pregnant.

On the day of your procedure, wear comfortable clothes and shoes, and leave your jewelry and valuables at home if possible.

What happens before a Thyroid Biopsy?

You’ll check in with our receptionist and be asked to complete some paperwork. Please bring your insurance cards and a list of your medications.

A nurse and the interventional radiologist will talk to you about the procedure in detail. They will answer any questions you have and ask you to sign a consent form.

Then you’ll put on a hospital gown and the nurse will start an IV to give you fluids and medications.

You may also need lab or blood work done before the procedure.

Our staff will show your family or companion(s) to our comfortable waiting room for the duration of your appointment.

What happens during a Thyroid Biopsy?

We’ll take you into our procedure room and place you on the x-ray table.

We’ll shave, clean and drape the area, and numb you with a local anesthetic.

Your interventional radiologist will use the x-ray to guide the insertion of the biopsy needle into your thyroid gland and remove a small piece of tissue.

What happens after a Thyroid Biopsy?

After the procedure is complete, we’ll apply manual pressure to the area for 15-20 minutes or until the bleeding stops. We’ll apply a dressing to the site and take you to the recovery room. We’ll monitor your condition for 2-4 hours until you are ready to be discharged.

The staff will review discharge instructions with you and give you a copy of those instructions to take home.

Your family or companion will then drive you home and stay with you overnight.

The following day, you may resume your normal diet and medication schedule, unless otherwise directed. Ask your physician about exercising or working before you resume your normal routine.

We’ll send your tissue sample to your specialist for diagnostic testing and his or her office will follow up with your results and a forward care plan.