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What should a patient expect before, during, and after fine needle aspiration (FNA)?

Before FNA

Prior to the procedure, Dr. Kroeker goes through a very thorough explanation of the procedure, so that a patient is fully aware of what is going to happen. She will inject the skin overlying the thyroid nodule or neck mass with a local anesthetic called lidocaine. This can burn a little bit.

During FNA

Following the lidocaine injection, Dr. Kroeker proceeds with the biopsy using a very small needle. The skin will be numb, but the patient may feel some pressure as the needle is going into the thyroid nodule or neck mass.
Every once in a while, a patient will have referred pain which goes up to their head or into their jaw or mouth, which has to do with tiny nerves that are too small to see even with the ultrasound device.

There can sometimes be a little discomfort during this procedure, but most patients tolerate it very well.

After FNA

Following the fine needle aspiration (FNA) procedure, symptoms can vary. Some patients have no bruising, while others will bruise very easily, so they may have a little bruise or swelling underneath the skin.

For patients experiencing any pain, bruising, or swelling, Dr. Kroeker will recommend that they put an ice pack on the neck at home and take some Tylenol and Ibuprofen as needed for the discomfort.

Fine needle aspiration and the comfort or discomfort level felt by each patient is a very personal thing and can vary widely. Dr. Kroeker is happy to discuss options with patients who are anxious about needles or the procedure in general.
Most of the time, patients will tolerate fine needle aspiration very well with very little pain, but there are some patients that do experience some level of discomfort. Dr. Kroeker will always stop the procedure if it becomes too painful and is very cognizant of a patient’s level of comfort throughout.