Whenever issues with the thyroid are suspected, further testing is needed. This is done by taking a small sample of tissue from the thyroid area. This procedure is referred to as a thyroid biopsy. This tissue sample is then examined under a microscope in order to detect various types of cancer, infection or other issues that may need to be addressed.
When it comes to taking a biopsy of the thyroid gland there are two basic methods which are commonly used for this procedure. These methods are fine needle biopsy and open biopsy.
When using this method of thyroid biopsy a needle is inserted through the neck into the thyroid gland. This method is often much more commonly used due to the fact that it is much less invasive than methods which require surgery.
This procedure is often a last resort when other testing has not determined the cause of whatever problem may be present. With this method a small cut is made so that the doctor can actually see the thyroid gland. A small sample is then taken for further analysis.
There are a couple of different reasons that a thyroid biopsy may be needed. These reasons include finding the cause of a lump that may have been detected or to determine the cause of a goiter.
Before you undergo a biopsy of the thyroid gland there are a few things that should be remembered. First and foremost it is very important that you inform your health care provider of any and all medications that you may be taking. In the case of some medications you may be advised to stop taking them for a few days. This is especially true of medications that affect blood clotting such as blood thinners. You should also let your doctor know if you have any problems that will affect your bloods ability to clot or may cause excessive bleeding.
When the needle biopsy method is used there is not special preparations that will need to be considered prior to this procedure. You will be awake during the process and know everything that is happening. With an open thyroid biopsy however you will be asleep during the process. General anesthetic is generally used so you should inform your doctor if you have any specific allergies or have had problems related to general anesthesia in the past. It is also important that you not eat anything for about ten to twelve hours before this as it may cause nausea due to the anesthesia.