A percutaneous biopsy is a procedure where an interventional radiologist uses ultrasound, x-ray or CT guidance to take a small tissue sample. This tissue is then given to a pathologist who looks at it under a microscope and makes a diagnosis. This is done through a single insertion site no bigger than a pencil tip.

Preparing for the Procedure

Most biopsies are performed under general anesthesia, which means that the patient must not have had anything to eat or drink in the 8 hours leading up to the procedure. Preprocedural imaging may be performed to assess where the area of interest is and the safest route. Pre-procedural labs will also be done in some cases, such as a blood count (hemoglobin and hematocrit).

During the Procedure

The patient will come into the interventional radiology suite or CT suite and be put under general anesthesia by our pediatric anesthesiologists. The patient will then be positioned on the table to give the interventionalist the safest route to perform the biopsy. Guided imagery will then be used to locate the targeted area. The skin and route will be numbed, and then under image guidance, the biopsy device placed into the target. Multiple samples will be taken at this point. These samples are anywhere from 1-3 cm long and about as thick as spaghetti. After the biopsy is complete, the area is re-imaged to ensure no immediate complications. A small amount of glue and a dressing are then placed over the insertion site.

After the Procedure

You can expect soreness in the region of the biopsy, similar to a deep bruise. This should last a couple of days and slowly improve with time. Tylenol or Motrin can be taken for any pain. Please refrain from any high-impact activities such as jumping or contact sports for 5-7 days after the procedure. Please do not submerge underwater for at least two days after the procedure. You may shower, but do not scrub the biopsy area. The doctor who ordered the procedure will reveal results a few days later (results can take anywhere from 2 days to a week).