Rhode Island Medical Imaging

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Thyroid Biopsy

What is the thyroid?
The thyroid is a butterfly shaped endocrine gland that is normally located in the lower front of the neck. The thyroid’s job is to produce hormones that are secreted into the blood and carried to every tissue in the body. Thyroid hormones help the body use energy, stay warm and keep the brain, heart, muscles, and other organs working properly.

Thyroid biopsy
A thyroid biopsy is a procedure in which a small sample of tissue is removed from the thyroid gland and examined under a microscope.

Why do you need a thyroid biopsy?
A thyroid biopsy is done to determine the cause of a lump or nodule found in the thyroid gland. Lumps in the thyroid gland may be discovered during a physical examination or seen on a thyroid ultrasound.

How the biopsy is done
During the test, you will lie on your back with a pillow under your shoulders, your head tipped backward, and your neck extended. This position pushes the thyroid gland forward, making it easier to perform the biopsy. It is important to remain very still during the procedure. Try not to cough or swallow when the needle is in place.
• Before a needle biopsy, your radiologist will clean the skin over your thyroid gland with antiseptic solution
• Using ultrasound guidance, your radiologist then inserts a thin needle into your thyroid gland and removes a small amount of thyroid cells into the needle. This will be repeated several times. A needle biopsy takes about 5 to 10 minutes.
• Cells from your thyroid gland are sent to a laboratory for examination.
• After a needle biopsy, the biopsy site is covered with a clean bandage.

Your doctor will communicate the results with you in a few days.

RIMI Thyroid Biopsy Brochure

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