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Interventional Radiology

Image guided biopsy

Image Guided Percutaneous Biopsy

What is an image guided percutaneous 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. You should not eat or drink for 12 hours before your procedure. 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.

Who will perform the procedure?

This procedure will be performed by a radiologist.

What happens to me during the procedure

You will be asked to change into a gown. The radiologist will then explain the procedure to you and answer any questions you may have. The nurse will start an IV for sedation during the procedure. After initial scanning to localize the area of interest and plan the biopsy approach, the skin will be prepared with antiseptic solution and then draped to reduce the risk of infection. Local anesthetic is then injected. A small (1/8″) incision may be made to allow easy placement of the biopsy needle. One or more biopsies will then be obtained. The radiologist may give you special instructions during the procedure such as brief breath-holding as required.

Image guided percutaneous biopsy may take between 15 – 60 minutes. Recovery time will depend on the area biopsied.

Should I expect any effects from this procedure?

Most percutaneous biopsies are very well tolerated with only minimal discomfort afterwards. 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. Other complications such as infection, puncturing other organs, pneumothorax (collapsed lung) are also very uncommon but if associated with your particular procedure will be further discussed by the radiologist before asking for your signed consent.

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

When and how will I know the results?

Your physician will receive separate written reports from the radiologist and pathologist within 7 days. You should obtain these results from your own physician. If there is any urgency, your physician is more than welcome to contact us by telephone.

Service Locations

Image Guided Biopsy is available at El Camino Imaging Center, X-Ray Associates at Farmington and X-Ray Associates at Santa Fe.