Discharge Instructions for Fine-Needle Thyroid Biopsy

You have had a procedure called fine-needle thyroid biopsy. This biopsy was done to learn more about a nodule or cyst in your thyroid gland or to find out what might be causing enlargement of your thyroid. During the biopsy, a very thin needle is inserted through the skin into the gland. The needle is used to remove a small amount of tissue from the gland. More than 1 tissue sample may be done to be sure to get cells from all parts of the nodule. Or the needle might be used to drain fluid from a cyst. Often a special ultrasound probe or transducer is used to help guide the needle to the right place. The tissue or fluid is then studied in a lab. 

Home care

Here are some tips to take care of yourself at home: 

  • You will have a small adhesive bandage on your biopsy site. Leave the bandage on for 4 to 6 hours. After this time, you don't need to keep it covered. 

  • If you feel discomfort after the biopsy, take over-the-counter pain medicine. Don't take aspirin. It's normal to feel sore for a day or 2.

  • Ask your healthcare provider when you can return to normal activities. This will likely be the same day as your procedure.

Getting your results

Your biopsy results may take a few days. When the results are ready, your healthcare provider will discuss them with you and tell you what, if anything, needs to be done next. If you have questions, consider writing them down so you won't forget to ask when the provider calls.


Make a follow-up appointment as directed by your healthcare provider.

When to call your healthcare provider

Call your healthcare provider right away if you have any of the following:

  • Bleeding that won’t stop

  • Shortness of breath, trouble breathing or speaking, or a change in your voice

  • Fever of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher, or as directed by your provider

  • Increasing pain, redness, tenderness, or drainage at the biopsy site

  • Swelling of the biopsy site

Be sure you understand what problems you should watch for and know how to reach the healthcare provider after hours and on weekends. 

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