During the procedure a local anesthetic is applied, and the doctor uses a thin needle to withdraw cells from the thyroid. By comparison, the needle is smaller than those typically used to draw blood. This process only takes a few seconds before the needle is removed with a sample. Several samples are usually taken from various parts of the nodule. Ultrasound is often used to ensure the doctor is locating the right areas.
Once completed, pressure is applied to the area, typically making the procedure take 20-30 minutes in total. In our onsite lab the biopsy sample may be reviewed under a microscope right away for rapid diagnosis, or may take longer if further review or testing is required.