This leaflet tells you about the procedure known as a biopsy and explains what is involved. You will be given the opportunity to discuss the procedure with the radiologist prior to the biopsy. You will be asked to sign a consent form. If you are on warfarin, aspirin, clopidogrel or other blood thinning medication, please notify the radiology nurses. You may need to have a blood test before the biopsy is carried out.

What is a biopsy?

A biopsy is a way of obtaining a small piece of tissue from an area that looks potentially abnormal. This is then examined by a Pathologist, who will be able to diagnose the problem. We use the CT scanner or Ultrasound scanner to guide us to the right area.

How long will it take?

Every patient’s situation is different, but on the whole the procedure may take up to an hour. The biopsy itself however takes only a matter of a few seconds. Afterwards, you will be transferred to one of our wards for at least four hours, for observation.

How is it done?

  • We will ask you to lie down and, using the CT scanner or Ultrasound scanner, we identify the area of the body which concerns us.
  • We clean the skin with antiseptic, and then inject local anaesthetic into the area to numb the surrounding skin and tissue.
  • We make a very small cut into the skin and insert a special biopsy needle; we may take several samples of tissue. The needle makes a loud clicking noise but you should feel no pain.
  • When we withdraw the needle from the skin, we will press on the area for a short time, and then apply a steristrip dressing (paper stitches).

What happens after the procedure?

  • After the procedure you will have your pulse and blood pressure taken by the nursing staff. This will be done on a regular basis throughout your stay. The main reason you are monitored is to check for any signs of bleeding.
  • You will be transferred to one of our wards, where you will stay on bed rest for at least four hours. If your observations are stable and you are fit enough, you will then be discharged home. However, some patients may have to stay overnight for further observation. If you have had a lung biopsy, you will almost certainly have a chest X-ray prior to your discharge.
  • You may eat and drink as normal.
  • You may feel some discomfort, if so, the ward staff can give you some painkillers, eg. paracetamol.
  • You may notice some bruising, but usually this is not a problem.

General advice

Your wound should be kept as clean and dry as possible. Remove the steristrips after two to three days.

If your wound becomes red, hot, swollen or have increasing pain, please seek advice from your own GP, practice nurse or Radiology Department.

If you have any questions or require further information or advice, contact:

  • Radiology Appointments Between 9am and 5pm 01935 384275
  • Radiology Nurse Between 9am and 5pm Monday – Friday 01935 384573 After 5pm, the Senior Sister on Duty (Clinical Site Manager)
  • For emergencies after discharge 01935 384525
Ref: 27-16-107
Review: 11/16