My doctor asked me to take an ultrasound guided biopsy due to the discovery of a nodule in my right lobe. Because I didn’t know much about this procedure at that time, I had no idea that this test could not be done in a lab, but instead it had to be done at a hospital as out patient surgery! WOW, it’s just a test, right? Well, after going through this test, it really is more than just a test. An ultrasound guided biopsy is a technique that is performed with a fine needle and guided by ultrasound–is is called guided FNA (Fine Needle Aspiration). When this test is performed, the goal is to analyze any nodules and to withdraw cells to determine whether they are cancerous or not.
How does the FNA biopsy work?
Under conscious sedation or basic numbing medicine, a fine needle is inserted in your throat, directly into the nodule, which is located in the thyroid. An ultrasound device is used to determine the location of the nodule so that the doctor will find the exact location of the nodule. Then cells are extracted and placed on a slide for evaluations.
(NOTE: Because I did not have anyone to drive me home in the middle of the day, and the fact that I spoke with a nurse a few days prior about what to except, I decided to not have conscious sedation done. Instead I decided to treat this process as if I was at the dentist office having a root canal done! There is very little to no pain!)
How to prepare for the FNA biopsy?
- Work with your doctor to find a hospital (or clinic) that does this sort of biopsy and then schedule the appointment.
- Find out from the hospital scheduler/nurse all of the required documentations/tests that are needed prior to the biopsy. Ask the following questions:
- Is additional blood work required?
- Do I need to bring a copy of the ultrasound film?
- Do I need to fast prior to the biopsy?
- How long will the procedure take?
- What numbing procedure is used for this biospy–basic numbing medicine or conscious sedation?
- Will I be immediately released after the procedure or will I be monitored for an hour or so?
- When will I be able to eat?
- Will there be any soreness?
- Follow out patient instructions after the biopsy.