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FNA biopsy on thyroid experience

15 Oct 2018 00:42

I'm describing my experience of an ultrasound guided FNA biopsy for anyone who would like information on it. 

Although my 2 sets of blood results were within normal ranges, my doctor noticed a lump on my neck when I swallowed during a visit. Following a consult with an endocrinologist and an ultrasound I then went for the FNA biopsy. I am in my late twenties and had no symptoms at all associated with thyroid cancer. I would have been healthy and rarely needed to visit the doctor prior to this. 

I had a good experience with the biopsy. The procedure was explained to me. My head was resting over a pillow so my neck was extended backwards. My whole neck area was cleaned with a wipe and alcohol rub (not very sure about the exact materials used) and a blue gown was put around me to protect clothing from the iodine put on my neck after the biopsy. I received a local anaesthetic (which was like getting the numbing injection in the dentist only in my neck). Felt like getting blood taken, only felt a pinch.

After being left for a few minutes for the anaesthetic to take effect, I had to try and not swallow/move my neck, especially when the needle would be inserted into my neck ( I had one nodule/lump on my left side only). The gel was applied to my neck for the ultrasound to guide the needle. A countdown from 3 was used so I knew when the needle would be inserted. A slight pressure was felt where the needle went in but it didn't feel tight/ choking. I just knew it was there. I found it good to focus on a point in the ceiling to distract myself from it. The needle was inserted 3 times in total to get enough representative cell samples.

A sticky plaster/bandage was placed over where the needle went in which I removed the next day. Felt fine after it, went home 10 minutes or so after the procedure. 

For anyone wondering how it turned out, the diagnosis was papillary carcinoma. I'm having my left lobe of my thyroid removed in just over a week and have spoken to people who have had this surgery. Outlook is positive. Did have consult with surgeon and having vocal cord check, bloods and ecg prior to surgery. Don't forget to ask about risks with flying pre and post surgery just incase you are a high risk patient for surgery. Hope this post helps someone who is in a similar boat to me.

FNA biopsy on thyroid experience

17 Oct 2018 09:50 in response to Hoof1

Hello Hoof1 and welcome to Cancer Chat.

I just wanted to thank you for sharing your experience of having an ultrasound guided FNA biopsy with us.

I'm glad you had a good experience and I'm sure your post will be a great help to those who are waiting to have this procedure done.

I'm pleased to read that the outlook for your diagnosis is positive Hoof1, and I hope all goes well with your surgery next week.

Kind regards, 

Steph, Cancer Chat Moderator

FNA biopsy on thyroid experience

31 Oct 2018 01:09 in response to Moderator Steph

Just an update post hemi thyroidectomy surgery. So far so good. Tomorrow I will be 1 week over the surgery. Recovery is going well for such a short space of time. Thankfully my bloods and calcium levels were ok so I was discharged the next day. Only needed 2 panadol for pain on night 2 post op. A good firm pillow helps with sleep. Can eat ok. Just have to take it slowly and take small bites but could eat normal foods ok.


More discomfort than pain when swallowing food or drink and getting comfy to sleep. Voice slightly hoarse but improving little by little daily. Will take another while to feel comfortable with neck movements. Will have bloods done and follow up consult in hospital to see progress and confirm size and diagnosis of nodule. Will keep you posted on progress. Hope this helps someone who is in similar boat

FNA biopsy on thyroid experience

30 Nov 2018 15:13 in response to Hoof1

Thanks for this account. It was really useful.

What were the initial symptoms that got you to the doctor and having thyroid tests?

I will have a biopsy in a couple of weeks. I'm a female in my 30s. I had an ultrasound today on a lump. I was displaying some thyroid disfuction symptoms (family history of hashimotos - I have had trouble sleeping, nauseous, anxiety that comes and goes). 

The scan today showed the lump has it's own blood supply so the radiologist wanted to investogate further and has referred me for a biopsy. I hope everything continues to go well and you're recovering alright.

FNA biopsy on thyroid experience

28 Jan 2019 01:26 in response to FluffyMango

Hi Fluffy Mango,

Only seeing this post now. Wasn"t on here in a while with xmas. I didn't really have any symptoms tbh. I was told I had gotten pale looking and thin in the face. I used to have good colour in my cheeks. Thought I'd get bloods done as I get them done annually anyway. Thought I might have anaemia and just run down etc. Doc asked how I felt...any trouble sleeping, change in.bowel movements, hoarseness, pain in neck, difficulty breathing etc (of which I had none). I was tired, but kinda brushed it off as was working shift at the time. I happened to swallow after talking and my doc noticed a lump at the base of my neck that moved when I swallowed. I didn't notice the lump myself. She examined it and said it felt solid. My bloods were 'normal'. Only thing I can say looking back that was in any way symptomatic was the feeling of having to double swallow my throat hadn't cleared properly after the first time. 


My granny had hyperthyroidism but no cancer history. Had check up there and pathology confirmed papillary thyroid carcinoma diagnosis. Tumour was smaller than they estimated from scans (2.5cm rather than 3.4). Won't need treatment as it was confined to the lobe (thankfully). Bloods ok, voice is normal and neck movement is normal. Really couldn't have asked for a better outcome. Having an ultrasound on right lobe in 6 months to keep an eye and blood tests to monitor. The order of tests was referral for ultrasound after my gp visit, consult with endocrinologist, FNA biopsy, 2nd endo visit which referred me to another hospital for consult with a surgeon. Had a pre op assessment ( ecg, bloods, vocal cord check, questionnaire to assess risk for op-no painful procedures thankfully). 


Keep me posted, if u ever want to chat some more post on here. Happy to help. 





FNA biopsy on thyroid experience

29 Jan 2019 23:03 in response to Hoof1

How is your scar healing? 

Im only 2 weeks post op. It feels like so strange. x My friend has bought me silver gel to help process but it stinks.  


FNA biopsy on thyroid experience

4 Feb 2019 22:51 in response to SophieN

Hi Sophie,


Don't think I'm allowed post a photo, but my scar is healing very well. I'm just over 3 months post op. U would barely notice it. It is a tiny bit red from where the incision was. With time it will fade though and blend in with the creases in my neck. Might start putting bio oil on it. What is the silver gel? I use cream with SPF in it just to protect it from the sun (even though there's not much around atm) as it is a delicate area. 


My voice took about 6 weeks to fully go back to normal but time for that varies for everyone. They told me it could take up to 6 months. 


You're over the worst bit once u get past 2 weeks. Neck movement improves so much - u don't have to turn like a robot or sleep in bed like a statue and u can swallow food/drink like a normal person.


How have you been since your op? Have you any follow up?



FNA biopsy on thyroid experience

4 Feb 2019 23:56 in response to Hoof1


good to hear your scar is healing well and your voice has improved! 

Swelling on mine has defo reduced and not looking too bad. I don’t know why I didn’t think the staples would leave a mark but they have. They look odd, but neat. 

I have a follow up tomorrow when they can finally tell what the nodule was. Been such a long wait. 


With best wishes xxx 

FNA biopsy on thyroid experience

15 Apr 2019 08:03 in response to Hoof1


Thanks for all the information, and the updates. It gave me a lot of hope. My case is very similar to yours, I have a 4cm single node on one of my lobes. They took a biopsy last week but told me at time of ultrasound that it had a lot of red flags in appearance so I’m kind of prepared for bad news. I was wondering how long it took for you to get biopsy results? Did the call you and say they had the results back or was you just sent an appointment in the post. I was scheduled an appointment for results before I even had the ultrasound and FNA and it would have been just over two weeks after the biopsy but I’m in Wales that day so I asked to change it and was given one that’s over 4 weeks from my biopsy which is going to feel like a lifetime! Was just wondering if I might get a call before this if it was bad news?