If your child has a thyroid nodule or thyroid mass, they might need a biopsy. The purpose of a biopsy is to tell whether a nodule or mass is cancer (malignant) or not cancer (benign).
At Seattle Children’s, we use a biopsy method called fine-needle aspiration, done by our otolaryngologists. For most children, we can do a physical exam and a fine-needle aspiration biopsy in the same clinic visit and avoid the need for general anesthesia.
We numb the front of the neck using a needle-free device called a J-tip that pushes medicine (buffered lidocaine) into your child’s skin with a strong puff of air. Then we use a very thin needle (thinner than for a blood draw) to take a sample of cells. We use ultrasound to guide the needle to the right place.
The biopsy visit takes about 1 hour. We have results for you in about 1 week.
You and your child are in control — if your child feels too nervous about being awake during the biopsy, we schedule a biopsy under general anesthesia (so your child is unconscious) instead.