One of its many services offered, Premier provides breast and thyroid biopsies. Do you know how you should you prepare for these procedures? And, what can you expect during and after the procedure?
During a fine needle aspiration biopsy of the thyroid, a small sample of tissue is removed from the thyroid gland. The thyroid gland is located in front of the neck just above the neckline and is shaped like a butterfly, with two lobes on either side of the neck connected by a narrow band of tissue. Nodules or abnormalities in the body are often detected by imaging examinations. However, it is not always possible to tell from these imaging tests whether a nodule is benign (non-cancerous) or cancerous.
A needle biopsy, also called a needle aspiration, involves removing some cells—in a less invasive procedure involving a hollow needle—from a suspicious area within the body and examining them under a microscope to determine a diagnosis. During the test, you will lie on your back with a pillow under your shoulders, your head tipped backward, and your neck extended. This position makes it easier for the radiologist to access the thyroid gland. Ultrasound imaging will guide the procedure.
You may feel some pressure on your neck from the ultrasound transducer and mild discomfort as the needle is moved to obtain the cells. You will be asked to remain still and not to cough, talk, swallow or make a sound during the procedure.
Aftercare instructions vary, but generally you can resume normal activities and any bandage can be removed within a few hours. The biopsy site may be sore and tender for one to two days. You may take nonprescription pain medicine, such as acetaminophen, to relieve any discomfort.
An ultrasound-guided breast biopsy uses sound waves to help locate a lump or abnormality and remove a tissue sample for examination under a microscope. It is less invasive than surgical biopsy, leaves little to no scarring and does not involve exposure to ionizing radiation.
Tell your doctor about any recent illnesses or medical conditions and whether you have any allergies, especially to anesthesia. Discuss any medications you’re taking, including herbal supplements and aspirin. You will be advised to stop taking aspirin or blood thinner three days before your procedure. Leave jewelry at home and wear loose, comfortable clothing. You may be asked to wear a gown. If you are to be sedated, plan to have someone drive you home afterward.
Image-guided, minimally invasive procedures such as ultrasound-guided breast biopsy are most often performed by a specially trained radiologist.
You will be positioned lying face up on the examination table or turned slightly to the side. A local anesthetic will be injected into the skin and more deeply into the breast to numb it. Pressing the transducer to the breast, the sonographer or radiologist will locate the lesion. A very small nick is made in the skin at the site where the biopsy needle is to be inserted. The radiologist, monitoring the lesion site with the ultrasound probe, will insert the needle and advance it directly into the mass.
Tissue samples are then removed using one of three methods:
You will be awake during your biopsy and should have little discomfort. Many women report little pain and no scarring on the breast. However, certain patients, including those with dense breast tissue, or abnormalities near the chest wall or behind the nipple may be more sensitive during the procedure.
When you receive the local anesthetic to numb the skin, you will feel a pin prick from the needle followed by a mild stinging sensation from the local anesthetic. You will likely feel some pressure when the biopsy needle is inserted and during tissue sampling, which is normal.
The area will become numb within a few seconds. You must remain very still while the imaging and the biopsy are being performed. As tissue samples are taken, you may hear clicks or buzzing sounds from the sampling instrument. These are normal. If you experience swelling and bruising following your biopsy, you may be instructed to take an over-the-counter pain reliever and to use a cold pack. Temporary bruising is normal. You should contact your physician if you experience excessive swelling, bleeding, drainage, redness or heat in the breast. If a marker is left inside the breast to mark the location of the biopsied lesion, it will cause no pain, disfigurement or harm. Biopsy markers are MRI compatible and will not cause metal detectors to alarm.
You should avoid strenuous activity for at least 24 hours after the biopsy.
You should wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing for your ultrasound exam. You may need to remove all clothing and jewelry in the area to be examined.
Prior to a needle biopsy, you should report to your doctor all medications that you are taking, including herbal supplements, and if you have any allergies, especially to anesthesia. Your physician may advise you to stop taking aspirin, blood thinners, or certain herbal supplements three to five days before your procedure to decrease your risk of bleeding.
You may want to have a relative or friend accompany you and drive you home afterward.