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Needle Biopsy: Thyroid
What is it? Overview Usage Side Effects and Warnings

What is Needle Biopsy: Thyroid?

With this type of biopsy, the doctor uses a needle to remove a small sample of tissue from the thyroid gland.

Thyroid Nodule
Thyroid Nodule
© 2009 Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

The test is usually done when a lump, called a nodule, is found in the thyroid. Thyroid nodules are fairly common. They usually do not require treatment. However, about 5% of nodules are cancerous . The needle biopsy is usually done to see if a nodule contains benign (noncancerous) or malignant (cancerous) cells. It may also be done if the thyroid is enlarged, even if there is no nodule present.

Possible Complications

Complications are rare, but no procedure is completely free of risk. If you are planning to have a needle biopsy, your doctor will review a list of possible complications, which may include:

  • Bleeding
  • Bruising where the needle was inserted
  • Pain after the procedure
  • Infection

Call Your Doctor

After arriving home, contact your doctor if any of the following occurs:

  • Bleeding
  • Signs of infection, including fever and chills
  • Trouble breathing or swallowing
  • Excessive neck swelling
  • Unusual pain or discomfort

In case of an emergency, CALL 911.