What is a Biopsy/Aspiration?

Imaging tests like x-ray, ultrasound, CT and others are used to locate masses and lesions, but these tests alone can’t determine if the cells involved are cancerous. A biopsy involves collecting cells from the area under investigation so they can be studied under a microscope to establish if they are cancerous or benign. Not too long ago, getting a biopsy often involved having open surgery, but advances in medicine now mean biopsies can usually be performed using minimally-invasive, image-guided needle aspiration.

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.

What Biopsy options are offered at RAO?

We provide an array of image-guided biopsy procedures, including stereotactic breast biopsyultrasound-guided breast biopsy, and specialized CT-guided biopsies, including:

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.

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. The procedure usually takes only minutes, but if a lot of fluid is present, it may take up to 20 – 30 minutes to drain the abdomen 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 advanced image guidance to insert a needle into the pleural space to remove the excess fluid, relieve pressure against the lungs, ease shortness of breath and collect a sample for testing.

These are but a few of the guided biopsy procedures offered at RAO. Your referring clinician and RAO radiologist will collaborate to determine which is right for your symptoms and health profile, to help ensure the utmost safety, comfort and accuracy.

Where are Biopsy services offered?

RAO offers CT-guided biopsy/aspiration at two convenient locations: Women’s Imaging Center and TimberRidge Imaging Center.

What to Expect

Before the procedure, the area of needle entry is swabbed with a topical numbing agent, so discomfort is minimal. If no contrast agent is required, this outpatient procedure usually takes only minutes with minimal prep. If a contrast agent is used, you will be given specific instructions, which may include fasting prior to your appointment.

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. Please avoid strenuous activity for 24 hours following a biopsy.

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