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Using CT guidance, our interventional radiologists can precisely position a biopsy needle to remove a targeted, minute amount of tissue for testing. Needle biopsies help your physician identify or characterize concerns such as cancer, transplant rejection and cirrhosis of the liver – although the technique is indicated for many conditions.

Who should consider a CT guided biopsy?

Your doctor may recommend a CT-guided biopsy to test an area of interest easily and safely in an outpatient setting. Your doctor must provide a referral for a CT-guided biopsy for your insurance to cover the procedure.

Before a CT guided biopsy

We ask you to avoid eating or drinking (including gum, candies and water) starting at midnight the night prior to your exam. Consult with your physician about any prescription or over-the-counter medications you take as well as specific instructions for your exam. Do not take aspirin or aspirin-related medications for a week before your exam. If you are diabetic, it’s important to consult with your doctor regarding your insulin dosage before altering it or fasting.

Prior to your biopsy, the required BUN and creatinine tests as well as PT, PTT and platelet reports help us ensure both your health and the integrity of the results. Please schedule these tests at least three days prior to your procedure. You will need a physician’s referral in order to schedule your appointment. Please inform your medical team of any allergies, medications, medical conditions and if there is a possibility you could be pregnant. If your clothing would prove prohibitive during your procedure, we will provide you with a gown to wear.

In general, biopsies using CT guidance are less risky than more invasive procedures. However, potential risks include bleeding, infection and lung collapse for lung and adrenal biopsies or pancreatitis for pancreatic biopsies. During the procedure, you may feel a stinging sensation from the medication used to numb your skin as well as pressure during your biopsy. Afterward the site may be tender, but not to the extent that it can’t be alleviated with non-aspirin products.

Please do not take aspirin, Coumadin, Plavix, Lovenox, Agranox or other blood thinners at least five days prior to your biopsy. If you stop taking blood thinners per our instructions, please work with your doctor to have your lab tests drawn in the early morning prior to your procedure.

During a CT guided biopsy

Please report to the endoscopy or ambulatory department on the second floor of the main hospital at 8 a.m. the day of your procedure. We perform CT-guided biopsies between 10 a.m. and noon. Your family may wait in the waiting area while we care for you or they may return later in the day to drive you home. The time required for each procedure may vary depending on the unique needs of each patient. With blood tests finished, we will ask you to change clothes in preparation for your procedure. Your technologist then helps position you on a table before you enter the CT scanner. During your biopsy, your technologist will ask you to rest as the CT scanner helps him or her pinpoint the specific biopsy location. A small needle administers a numbing medication, though some patients may still feel minor discomfort during the biopsy. If you or your physician anticipate you will feel anxiety or pain, additional pain relievers and anti-anxiety medications may be an option. These procedures generally take 30 to 90 minutes with a four- to six-hour post-procedure observation period.

After a CT guided biopsy

A subsequent X-ray may be required to ensure your procedure went as expected before we release you to return home. Though your biopsy is an outpatient procedure, you will likely be at our facility for about six hours from start to finish as we observe our patients for a few hours following a biopsy. You will need someone to drive you home; your driver may stay in our waiting room or simply return to pick you up when you are released.

You may eat two hours after your completed procedure. You’ll start by drinking clear liquids followed by lunch four hours after your procedure. Bring your medications in their original containers so you may resume taking them later in the day after your biopsy. If you have diabetes, we will contact your doctor for your correct insulin dose, which may need to be changed due to fasting until mid-morning. Please avoid heavy lifting and strenuous activity for a few days following your biopsy. A little tenderness and swelling is normal, but alert your physician if it persists or worsens. Your doctor will discuss your results with you at a follow-up appointment after we deliver your results, which we typically provide within a week.