Your doctor has asked that you have a biopsy. This will help answer some of the most common questions.
What is a biopsy?
A biopsy is a sampling of an area of tissue.
Who does the procedure?
A radiologist (x-ray doctor) performs the procedure, with assistance from technologists and, possibly a nurse.
What preparations must I take before the exam?
You may or may not need to have blood work done. This will depend on your age, the medications you take, and whether you will receive contrast or not. You will need to refrain from eating or drinking for at least four (4) hours prior to the biopsy. More specific instructions regarding medications, etc. may be given to you on the day before the exam. A nurse will call you on the day before the exam and ask your medical history, medications, allergies, and several other questions. This will be an opportunity for you to ask questions, so as they come up, please write them down.
What do I do on the day of the test?
You will be asked to report to the Surgicenter on the morning of the biopsy. – A specific time of arrival will be given to you. An I.V. may be started in your arm and you will be sent to the Radiology Department for the biopsy.
What happens during the procedure?
Preliminary pictures will be taken and the affected area of your skin will be marked with a magic marker. This area will be cleansed with a soap solution called Betadine which may feel cool. Using a very thin needle, the radiologist will numb the area with a local anesthetic. The Radiologist will then insert a needle into the affected area. Pictures will be taken and the needle may be repositioned until the area to be biopsied is located. You should not feel a great deal of discomfort while this occurs, however, you will probably have a pressure sensation. A syringe will be attached to the needle and the sample taken. With the syringe you will probably feel a pressure sensation. Several attempts may be necessary to obtain a sufficient sample. You may be kept on the table in the same position while the sample is sent to the Lab and screened to be sure the sample is sufficient. If the Lab needs more of a sample, the biopsy procedure will continue. If the sample is sufficient, you will return to the Surgicenter or your room with a small dressing over the biopsy site.
How long does it take?
The entire procedure takes about an hour.
What if I have pain during the procedure?
You can be given medications during the exam to reduce your anxiety or pain. Every effort will be made to make you as comfortable as possible.
What will I be able to do following the exam?
After the exam, you will need to stay in the Surgicenter for a few hours and remain still to prevent bleeding. We recommend that you just rest on the day of the biopsy. As long as you are feeling up to it, you can resume normal activity the following day.
Are there complications?
Most people tolerate the exam without difficulty. A few people have had a reaction to the contrast. After the exam, you may develop a bruise at the insertion site. Complications more specific to your exam or other, very rare, complications will be discussed with you by the radiologist prior to your exam.