An organ biopsy is a procedure in which your interventional radiologist uses a special needle to obtain a tissue sample for examination under a microscope. The sample is evaluated to diagnose disease or to monitor the effects of treatment. Examples include:
- A liver biopsy to check for liver disease or damage including hepatitis or liver scar tissue (cirrhosis), elevated iron levels and tumors.
- A thyroid biopsy to find the cause of a lump (nodule) found in the thyroid gland or to find the cause of an abnormal enlargement of the thyroid gland (goiter).
- A lymph node biopsy to check the cause of enlarged lymph nodes. It is also done to check whether a known cancer has spread to the lymph nodes.
At University Radiology, our interventional radiologists perform biopsies using advanced medical imaging to precisely guide the needle to the section of an organ being evaluated.
What are the benefits?
A biopsy is often the only way to definitely diagnose a disease after it has been detected during a physical exam or an imaging exam. Needle biopsy is the least invasive way to obtain a tissue sample for testing. As a result, patients can resume normal activities sooner than they would after surgery, frequently within 1-2 days.
How does the procedure work?
Your radiologist will numb the skin overlying the location of interest with a local anesthetic. Once the area is numb, a biopsy needle is guided to the location of interest with CT scan or ultrasound image guidance. Once the tissue sample is taken, the biopsy needle is removed and a bandage is applied. Most needle biopsy procedures take less than 30 minutes.
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