Exam: Thyroid Biopsies

Thyroid Biopsies Description

Duration: 30 minutes

This is a fine needle aspiration of tissue from the thyroid gland and is performed under ultrasound guidance. It is performed to investigate the cause of a nodule in the thyroid gland. The procedure is performed by a radiologist with the assistance of an ultrasound technologist. It is less invasive than a surgical biopsy and leaves little or no scarring. The tissue sample is sent to the lab to be investigated further and provide a final diagnosis.

Benefits of a needle biopsy

  • The results are reliable and close to 90% accurate for adequate biopsies
  • It is less invasive than surgical and open biopsies which require a large incision under general anesthesia
  • The procedure is generally not painful
  • Recovery time is brief and patients can resume their normal activities


  • There could be bleeding at the site of the biopsy
  • There is the risk of minor infection
  • There could be injury to other areas close to the thyroid gland
  • In some cases the specimens may not be adequate and the procedure may need to be repeated to obtain final diagnosis


Usually there is no special preparation for this procedure.

Please notify the radiologist/ultrasound technologist if you are on blood thinners such as Heparin, Coumadin, Warfarin, etc.