A thyroid, lymph node and breast/axilla biopsy is a needle biopsy of the concerning area. It is done to remove a sample of tissue. The tissue is sent to the lab to be examined.

For Prostate Biopsy patients, please see our Prostate Biopsy page.

A cyst aspiration is a simple procedure. A small needle is used to withdraw fluid from the cyst under ultrasound guidance.

How do I prepare for my exam?

Thyroid and Lymph Node Biopsy

Please arrive 10 minutes prior to your appointment time to complete the check-in process and any necessary paperwork.

  • Anticoagulants: Do not take aspirin and ibuprofen products for 1 week prior to the biopsy.
  • Other blood thinners must be discontinued with the approval of your physician. These products can affect blood clotting, which can cause bleeding during or after the biopsy. You can take products that have acetaminophen (e.g. Tylenol) in them.
  • You may eat prior to the biopsy.
Breast/Axilla Biopsy and Cyst Aspiration

Please arrive 30 minutes prior to your appointment time to complete the check-in process and any necessary paperwork.

  • No exam preparation is required.

What happens before a biopsy or aspiration?

Do not take aspirin and ibuprofen products before the aspiration. These products can affect blood clotting, which can cause bleeding during or after the aspiration. You can take products that have acetaminophen (e.g., Tylenol) in them.

  • You may eat before the operation.
  • You must sign a consent form before the procedure.

Please tell the radiologist or technologist if you:

  • Have a history of bleeding problems.
  • Are allergic to local freezing, tape, latex, or pain medication.
  • Take blood thinners (e.g., Warfarin/Coumadin/Plavix).
  • Take products with aspirin or ibuprofen in them (e.g., Aspirin, Advil, or Motrin).

What happens during a biopsy or aspiration?

  • You will lie on your back on a padded table. An ultrasound will be done to locate the area of concern.
  • Your skin will be cleaned with an antiseptic solution. Local anesthetic will be injected to freeze the area where the needle will be inserted.
  • The freezing will sting for 5 to 10 seconds.
  • The needle will be guided into the thyroid/lymph node/breast while the radiologist is doing the ultrasound. You will feel some pressure during the biopsy.
  • The procedure will take approximately 30 minutes.

Additional notes for patients undergoing Breast/Axilla Biopsy or Cyst Aspiration:

  • The procedure will be done under ultrasound guidance. With the biopsy/aspiration and follow-up care, the procedure will take about one hour.
  • You will feel some pressure, but no pain during the biopsy/aspiration.
  • You may have mild discomfort.
Breast/Axilla Biopsy
  • There will be clicking sound when the core needle is taking samples.
  • Pressure will be put over the biopsy site. There is a period of observation before you are sent home.
  • You will see bruising after the biopsy. The bruising may be very extensive.
Cyst Aspiration
  • You may see bruising after the cyst aspiration.

What happens after a breast/axilla biopsy or cyst aspiration?

Caring for your breast after a core biopsy
  • The biopsy site will be covered with a light gauze dressing. The dressing can be taken off in 24 hours. The paper tapes (Steri-strips) must stay on for one week. After 24 hours you may shower or bath.
  • Putting an ice pack inside your bra, over the biopsy site, during the first 24 hours will help decrease bruising, swelling, and discomfort. For the first 4 hours after you are home, alternate the ice pack on for 20 minutes, then off for 20 minutes. Never leave ice on for more than 20 minutes at a time.
  • Wear a bra for the first 24 hours (a sports bra if you have one).
  • You may take acetaminophen for discomfort, if needed. Do not take anything with aspirin in it for 24 to 48 hours after the biopsy.
  • Take it easy for the rest of the day.
  • You can get back to your regular activities the next day. Do not do any heavy lifting or hard exercise (like jogging) for one week.
Caring for your breast after a cyst aspiration
  • When the procedure is completed, a sterile gauze will be pressed against the area for several minutes to prevent bleeding. A band-aid will be placed over the needle puncture site. The radiologist or technologist will discuss what to expect after the examination and what to do when you get home. Most patients may resume their normal activities the day of the cyst aspiration.
  • An ultrasound-guided cyst aspiration usually does not require post-procedure care, but this procedure may be changed to an ultrasound guided core biopsy if no fluid is obtained.
 
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