Does a Needle Biopsy in the Neck Hurt?

A needle biopsy is a minimally invasive procedure and does not require a large incision.
A needle biopsy is a minimally invasive procedure and does not require a large incision.

A needle biopsy is a minimally invasive procedure and does not require a large incision. Therefore, it is less painful compared to the standard surgical biopsies. Most patients experience mild pain after the procedure, which can be managed with painkillers. This pain is even lesser if local anesthesia is used during the procedure. Needle biopsy provides the advantage of faster recovery. However, sometimes the biopsy may need to be repeated if the sample fails to capture the cells from the affected area.

What is a needle biopsy in the neck?

Needle biopsy in the neck is mainly done to take out a small sample of tissue from the thyroid gland or enlarged lymph nodes. The thyroid gland is located in front of the neck around Adam’s apple. The lymph nodes are located all over the neck.

The procedure is done under the guidance of ultrasonography to collect the specimen from the precise position that has the nodule or mass. This specimen is then sent to the lab to analyze what kind of cells are present inside the nodule.

Why do you need a needle biopsy?

Your physician may recommend a needle biopsy to help diagnose a mass over any body part. A needle biopsy may also help to diagnose or rule out certain cancers, tuberculous areas, or other diseases. The sample from the needle biopsy may help the physician:

  • To identify whether a mass or lump is a cyst, an infection, a benign tumor, or cancer.
  • To identify the source of infection and plan the treatment regimen.
  • To identify the reason behind the inflammation and types of cells involved.

A needle biopsy, when combined with imaging tests, aids in the accurate location of the area to be biopsied.

What to expect before a needle biopsy?

Most biopsies do not require any extravagant preparations except for the following:

  • Stop taking Aspirin or other blood thinners 1 week before the procedure. Some of the medicines in this category include:
  • Do not eat or drink anything for several hours before the procedure.
  • Be sure someone is there to drive you home

What will I experience after the procedure?

The aftercare experience may vary but you can resume normal activities within a few hours. Any bandage would also be removed before you leave the hospital.

You may experience tenderness and soreness in the biopsy site for 1-2 days. You can take Tylenol or other pain relievers to relieve any discomfort or pain.


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WebMD. Fine Needle Aspiration. Mayo Clinic. Needle Biopsy.

Radiological Society of North America. Ultrasound-Guided Fine Needle Aspiration Biopsy of the Thyroid.