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  • Percutaneous Biopsy

    What is an image guided needle biopsy?

    A biopsy is a procedure which obtains a specimen of tissue for microscopic examination by a medical specialist (pathologist). This often provides precise diagnosis so that you and your doctor can make the best possible treatment decisions. Only a few years ago, most biopsies required a surgical operation. Today, medical equipment such as ultrasound, CT and fluoroscopy not only take internal images of the body, but can guide minimally invasive, percutaneous (through the skin) fine needle aspirations or core biopsies under local anesthetic with rapid recovery and minimal risk.

    How do I prepare for a biopsy?

    If there is a possibility that you are pregnant, please inform your physician before the procedure, as the procedure may have to be postponed or cancelled.

    If you are taking prescribed anticoagulants (blood thinners) such as Coumadin, Aspirin or arthritis medication, you should consult your physician for instructions prior to the procedure. Other patients should not take Aspirin for five (5) days prior to their biopsy. If a pain medication is required, Tylenol (acetaminophen) may be taken safely.

    You are not required to fast before your biopsy.

    Please come for your biopsy with a responsible adult who can drive or accompany you home.

    If you are unable to keep your appointment, please let us know as soon as possible. Should you be admitted to the hospital, please inform your physician about your appointment.

    Who will perform the procedure?

    This procedure will be performed by a radiologist (a specialist medical doctor). A technologist will assist.

    What happens to me during the procedure?

    After checking in with the Department of Radiology, you will be given preliminary instruction by a technologist who will direct you to ultrasound, CT or X-ray area for your biopsy. You will be asked to change into a hospital gown. The radiologist will then explain the procedure to you and answer any questions you may have.

    After initial scanning to localize the area of interest and plan the biopsy approach, the skin will be prepared with antiseptic solution. One or more biopsies will then be obtained. The radiologist may give you special instructions during the procedure such as brief periods of holding your breath.

    Should I expect any effects from this procedure?

    Most needle biopsies are very well tolerated with only minimal discomfort afterwards. Tylenol (acetaminophen) may be used if required. You should not physically exert yourself for 24 hours but can immediately resume normal activities as you feel capable.

    The primary risk of this procedure is bleeding but only rarely requires treatment such as transfusion.

    If you experience increasing pain, vomiting or fever after returning home, seek medical attention by contacting the Radiology Department, your own physician or the nearest Emergency Department.

    When and how will I know the results?

    Your physician will receive separate written reports and you should obtain these results from your physician. If there is any urgency, your physician is more than welcome to contact us by telephone.

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