If you’re scheduled or considering having an image-guided thyroid biopsy, you want to know what to expect before and after the procedure so you can adequately prepare yourself. Finding an FNA specialist and getting a referral is the first step to getting your image-guided thyroid biopsy.
Preparing for the Procedure
The good news is that there isn’t a lot involved with actually preparing for the image-guided thyroid biopsy procedure. You should let your FNA doctor LA know if you’re currently taking any agents that may thin your blood like aspirin or Lovenox. But, since this procedure is so non-invasive and minor, you usually won’t have to stop taking them before, during, or after your procedure.
You’ll arrive at your physician’s office at the scheduled time, and they’ll lead you into the examination room. You’ll usually lie down, and they’ll clean the area around your thyroid before starting the procedure. They’ll perform the procedure, read the results, and send you on your way. This usually takes around 30 minutes from start to finish.
After Your Procedure
Once your FNA specialist gets the samples they need from your thyroid, they’ll retract the needle. Your samples will be sent for a doctor or lab staff to analyze under a microscope. They’ll start to apply light pressure to the biopsy area to help reduce the chances of any bleeding. They might apply an antibiotic ointment and a light bandage if you continue to bleed.
You may get your preliminary results before you leave the office. Based on these results, you might be asked to schedule a follow-up appointment to discuss the findings in more detail or to schedule another procedure. If everything is clear, your FNA doctor LA will send you on your way.
You can resume most of your activities almost immediately, but you might want to avoid strenuous activity for 24 hours after the procedure. Additionally, you may feel sore or slight discomfort in the biopsy area. You can use over the counter medications to combat this soreness.
Comparing FNA to an Incisional Biopsy
Incisional biopsies is a more invasive procedure, and you may be required to have it done in an operating room under general anesthesia. This depends on where the biopsy site is on your thyroid gland. Also, incisional biopsies leave a slightly bigger incision, and this makes it easy for it to get infected or have issues both during and after the procedure.
This is why many people prefer to have a fine needle aspiration biopsy done by an FNA specialist instead. Whatever your choice, now you know what to expect before and after your image-guided thyroid biopsy.