What To Know About Having a Biopsy

For most people, hearing the word “biopsy” is unsettling. Luckily, most biopsies turn out to be negative, meaning there are no signs of cancer. Infection, internal injury and other diseases can create similar symptoms, so when your doctor or clinician orders a biopsy, it is important to get checked out as quickly as possible. And if cancer is present, take heart – in nearly all cases, when cancer is caught early, before it is has a chance to spread, it is highly treatable.

It’s our foremost mission to discover disease early and collaborate with referring physicians to promote rapid, effective treatment.
— Dr. Kareem Bohsali, Supervising Radiologist, Outpatient Biopsy Program
Dr. Bohsali

Dr. Bohsali

Today’s biopsies are vastly superior to those of previous generations, which often demanded open surgery to collect a tissue sample. RAO’s Board Certified radiologists utilize the most advanced technologies to perform image-guided needle biopsies that are so precise, there is usually little discomfort and post-procedure healing.

Some examples of image-guided biopsy include:

CT Guided Biopsy/Aspiration – Using a specialized form of x-ray called computed tomography, or CT, your RAO doctor guides a needle to the mass or lesion being investigated and collects a tissue sample. Before the procedure, the area of needle entry is swabbed with a topical numbing agent, so discomfort is minimal. This procedure usually takes only minutes with minimal prep. If a contrast agent is used, there is specific preparation involved and you will be given instructions before your appointment.

Paracentesis – Among other purposes, this procedure is used to collect fluid from the abdominal area to check for liver and other types of cancer, and to relieve the pressure and pain caused by excess fluid build-up. After a local anesthetic is used to numb the area of entry, your RAO doctor will use comfortable, non-invasive ultrasound imaging to guide a thin needle into the abdomen to extract fluid for testing. The procedure usually takes only minutes, but if a lot of fluid is present, it may take up to 20 – 30 minutes to drain completely and relieve pressure.

Thoracentesis – The body maintains about four teaspoons of fluid in the area between the lungs and chest wall, called the pleural space. When excess fluid builds up in the area, it can create pressure against the lungs, causing difficulty breathing. Thoracentesis is a procedure in which your RAO doctor uses non-invasive advanced image guidance to insert a needle into the numbed skin above the chest wall and ease it into the pleural space to remove the excess fluid, relieve pressure against the lungs, ease shortness of breath and collect a sample for testing.