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Readers Respond: Thyroid Patients' Experiences with Thyroid Surgery and FNA Biopsy

Responses: 201


Updated May 11, 2011

Thyroid Biopsy

My procedure went really well and the doctor was awesome. The worst thing is waiting on PSP to get results back from Friday to Wednesday. Still no reply and I'm scared to death.
—Guest Tammy

FNA Biopsy and Thyroid Surgery

First, let me say that I initially read too much on the internet. There are so many differing opinions. Some info is good, some not. I had a good experience with the whole process. From discovery of the problem through surgery was about six weeks. That included 2 surgeries. They took out half the first time and a short term test showed no cancer was present. Final pathology however showed cancer cells so they had to go back in and take the other half. My second surgery was better. I didn't use any pain meds after the initial dose and I felt a lot better and was out of the hospital in less than 24 hours. Truly, I feel very blessed to have found out the problem and immediately taken steps to correct it. Now working to level out synthroid dosage. Going pretty well. All in all, no complaints. Thanks to the Lord, great doctors, and a wonderful support network I am doing fabulously. I wish you all well. Remember, your not in this alone. Stay positive!!!

FNA Not Too Awful

I had a FNA done a year ago at a hospital. The procedure wasn't very painful. After effects were bothersome for a few days. My voice sounded strange and I was sore. It took a few days until I felt better. I will be having another one any day now since my doctor wants my thyroid removed. The FNA does not concern me. I don't want my thyroid removed.
—Guest fllfla

Easy FNA

I had an FNA Feb 25, 2013 by a radiologist under US. The doctor and tech explained everything and were kind and fast. I had lidocaine (tiny pinch) and 4 sticks with 4 pushes each in one nodule, which took a total of 4 minutes. No pain, just pressure. I was really uptight before but would not hesitate to have one again with this tech and doctor. I went out to lunch later. Next day, there is bruising and some soreness. Nothing bad at all. I am appalled by some of the stories here. US guidance and lidocaine highly recommended. Also, a doctor who has done lots of these procedures. It should not be a very unpleasant experience. My was about 2 out of 10 for discomfort.
—Guest Marion

Third Times the Charm, Hopefully!

Back in July, I was 6 months pregnant when I was told I had to have a FNA. It came back inconclusive. They sent me for another at the beginning of February and again the results inconclusive. I cried like a baby when the doctor told me I would have to do it again. It hurt a lot when I was pregnant and even worse the second time. I am dreading the third. Each time it is done you have to wait 3 months for it to heal. I go back in June for the third time. The stress of this during what is suppose to be an amazing time with my new baby is overwhelming. Hormones are already out of wack and have this looming over my head. Please let the thrird time be a charm and come back negative!!!
—Guest melissa

Going For 2nd Biopsy

I had a FNA 6 weeks ago that came back abnormal cells. I am going for a follow up biopsy tomorrow. The first one was very uncomfortable. He tried twice and then switched to a cervical needle. He tried again with a core biopsy needle. At one point a shooting pain went through my shoulder during the process. They told me it had something to do with a nerve. Aside from being quite nervous about the results, the idea of going through this again is really scary. On top of all of this, I have a job interview the next day! I would appreciate any suggestions to make sure I am in top condition the next day for a very important appointment! Thank you everyone.
—Guest RFunk

Response to Maerrel02

I had similar effects from the needle biopsies. They did 5. What also happened with me is that with each one, the lidocaine began to wear off until the 5th was completely without numbing. The doctor said, "It has worn off pretty much now." Yikes! You would think with modern medicine they could figure out how to keep you numb until the end of the test. Nothing but trouble later! I swallow every few seconds and each time it feels heavier and more difficult to swallow when lying down. I also have pain when swallowing. Same symptoms . It has been two weeks since the biopsy and it still hurts terribly when I cough. YUCK! What did they do?
—Guest LeeAn


I had a FNA last week. The nurse and the doctor had NO sense of humor. I have to be a little funny just to keep from crying! He numbed my neck with lidocaine and proceeded to biopsy 2 or 3 of the 8 nodules I had. One was "deeper" than he expected, so that really hurt and he sent the nurse for longer needles. I am so glad I kept my eyes closed most of the time. I still have a tiny lump or bit of swelling from when he dove in, but it's like a bee sting - not huge. They did give me an ice pack, which I think really helped. They also told me to take some Tylenol or Advil. Drinking a cool drink felt so wonderful! I continued to have non-carbonated drinks the rest of the day and I took a 2 hour nap didn't hurt! The worst has been waiting for the results. My doctor's office has had them for 4 days, but we have just been missing each other. So it's benign but, I have Hashimoto's syndrome. I've already been on Synthroyd for 7 years, but it's time for an endocrinologist.
—Guest GuestyQ

Thyroid Timeline

I was first diagnosed with Grave's Disease late 2011. In October of 2012 I was told I was in remission and was taken off medication. The same day I had a MRI on cervical area due to osteo-arthritis, resulting in the discovery of two nodules in my thyroid. I was in shock! I had two needle biopsy's on nodule of right side and had no problems. Now I am having a hemi-thyroidectomy weeks from today. It will be my 19th medical operation from foot to head. Only part I am concerned about having a very painful neck. The doctor has assured me that staff will take care me at all times while I am in care. I hope so! I am already on pain patches, but we will see.
—Guest AussiedreamerHelen

FNA Experience

I went in for the FNA today. Was so worried and nervous. I don't like needles at all. The doctor was great and answered every question while he walked me through each step of what to expect. This was horrible pain! Whether it was me over reacting or not, who knows. My doctor said the nodule was hard and he had trouble getting a sample so I felt everything and it was not any good. Now, 5 hours later, I am still very very sore and my neck is still swollen.
—Guest lauren

FNA in 2 Days

I thought that researching an FNA would help me from being so nervous. After seeing 2 videos and reading some of the responses here, I think I should have left well alone. I am more scared now. Plus, my endocrinologist doesn't use anesthesia for the FNA.
—Guest Buck

Don't Be Afraid

I had my first sono-guided thyroid FNA today. I was afraid going into the test and wondered if it would hurt and what the results would be. I was mostly worried knowing that this particular radiologist gives nothing for the pain prior to the test. I had no numbing spray or ice. I felt absolutely no pain. I felt some pressure - like someone pressing my neck using the erasure end of a pencil. I continued to feel some pressure for a couple of hours afterwards. There was a pathologist at the test as well and he gave me the results immediately afterwards. Thank goodness everything was fine and no cancer present. It is important to go to a doctor who has a lot of experience with this specific test. There are many radiologists who are qualified to do the test, but pick someone who is an expert. Good luck to all.
—Guest Guest Guest


I just had the FNA done on Jan 21, 2013. I was fine until the freezing was gone. After, I couldn't swallow. I had pain from my ear lobe to the base of my neck. Swelling and bruising in the area. Four days later I'm just starting to eat solid foods. I noticed most people don't have a lot of pain. I think that depends on location and depth of the aspiration.
—Guest Donna


I had an FNA 01-15-13. I was given lidocaine to numb my neck area on the right side. Even though the doctor and the assistant explained the entire procedure it still hurt so bad during. I was given an ice pack for afterwards. I had lunch later that day something soft. I felt ok the next day just a little sore then on the third day the worst pain ever. My ear, jaw and arm area hurt. I felt like there was a lump in my throat. I constantly have to swallow. When I chew my food I have to swallow before I chew it up. I feel like I have acid reflux in my throat not able to burp feels like food is lodged in my esophogus. I hope this feeling will not last forever when eating afraid I am going to choke. Warm or hot tea soothes my throat but it still feels like I have food in my throat. It also hurts to laugh and to cough and very painful to clear my throat. I hope this feeling goes away I took Ibuprofen for the pain but, I can still feel the pain. I am waiting on my results. What else works, I wonder.


On the 22nd I am getting my first FNA. I'm scared. I wonder if they numb the neck before they insert the needle.
—Guest momof2sons

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Thyroid Patients' Experiences with Thyroid Surgery and FNA Biopsy

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