Thyroid Biopsy Procedure Information Sheet

Why do I need a thyroid aspiration procedure, also called an FNA or thyroid biopsy?

  • On your most recent thyroid ultrasound examination, a spot was identified within the thyroid gland that may have been a nodule
  • or cyst of uncertain significance
  • In order to determine the nature of the area of abnormality, a sample of the tissue of the area of abnormality is required
  • A very thin needle will be inserted into the nodule or cyst by a radiologist (doctor) using the ultrasound machine for guidance

Preparation for the procedure

  • Please wear loose fitting clothing with no jewellery around the neck
  • Please have a bath or shower the morning of the procedure as you will not be able to have a bath or shower again until the day after the procedure
  • Blood thinners: Please stop ASA (aspirin) 5 days prior to your procedure
  • Please bring a list of your current medications, supplements and allergies with you
  • You can have a light breakfast the morning of the procedure
  • Please come 15 minutes before your procedure time

How the procedure is performed

  • You will be lying on your back with support under your neck and shoulders
  • The technologist and physician will use the ultrasound machine to find the spot of concern
  • The physician will clean the skin with an antiseptic solution
  • Local anaesthetic (freezing) will be injected to reduce discomfort
  • Using ultrasound and a needle, the physician will take 1 to 3 samples of the nodule or cyst
  • The tissue will be sent to the lab for analysis and our referring doctor will receive a result from the lab directly
  • Once the aspiration procedure is complete, pressure will be applied to the area to minimize bleeding and bruising
  • A bandage will be applied and instructions about what to do afterwards will be given to you

After-Procedure Care

  • You may return to normal activity after the procedure, but avoid strenuous activities the day of the procedure
  • You may drive after the procedure
  • You may wish to apply an ice pack to the area after the biopsy, which should be wrapped in a cloth to prevent damage to your skin
  • You may take Tylenol (acetaminophen) for pain with a dose of1000 mg every 8 hours. Do not take more than four doses
  • Your referring doctor will likely receive the results from the lab in 10-14 days. If you do not hear from your referring doctor's office in 2 weeks, please call your referring doctor's office
  • Please note that, rarely, an aspiration procedure may need to be repeated to obtain more tissue samples

Your procedure sheet

To download and save the information sheet as a PDF, click here.