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Needle-Guided Biopsies

Advanced Diagnostics at Washington Township Medical Foundation

A thyroid nodule is a lump or a growth of some type on the thyroid gland. In most cases, these growths are completely harmless, but a small percentage turn out to be malignant, meaning cancerous. A fine needle aspiration biopsy allows your doctor to take a same of cells from a thyroid nodule using a tiny needle. The doctor can then send this sample to a laboratory to find out if the nodule is cancerous or benign.

What to Expect During Your Appointment

The entire procedure typically takes under 20 minutes and can be conducted in your doctor’s office. Some procedures involve the use of ultrasound technology to guide the needle. The doctor will then send the sample of cells that he / she collected to a pathologist for reading.

The pathologist looks at these cells under a strong microscope to determine whether they are:

  • Malignant
  • Benign

In most cases, the test will show that the cells are not cancerous. Your thyroid gland is butterfly-shaped, with two lobes connected by a small strip of tissue and located at the front of your neck, above the neckline on either side. If your doctor notices any kind of abnormal growth during an imaging examination, a biopsy will reveal whether or not there is cause for concern.

If you have questions about this procedure, ask your endocrinologist at Washington Township Medical Foundation.

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