Ultrasound Guided Biopsy

Ultrasound guidance is used to image the area of interest ensuring accurate needle placement.

Your preparation requirements

You are not required to have any special preparation for the above examination unless specified our friendly staff at the time of booking your appointment.

What to expect

Ultrasound is used regularly to guide needles for biopsies. This is to ensure that we are sampling tissue from the exact area of interest such as a lymph node or breast lump. This is not often done on the same day or time as your ultrasound, as a Pathologist comes to our practice to ensure that we get enough tissue for analysis. Our Radiologist will discuss the procedure with you at the time of your appointment.

There are two common types of biopsies that can be performed here at Sound Radiology.

  1. Fine Needle Aspiration (FNA): An FNA involves inserting a small needle into the tissue that requires sampling and applying suction to the needle tip whilst turning the needle. This removes the cells which are then analysed by the pathologist. Generally more than one sample is required and an FNA is generally less invasive than a core biopsy, however rarely the specimen is so small that the pathologist is unable to make a diagnosis.
  1. Core biopsy: A core biopsy usually involves a larger needle to remove a larger sample of tissue. Local anaesthetic is administered prior to the procedure to minimize any discomfort. The equipment used to obtain the sample tissue uses a trigger mechanism that will emit a snapping sound when the sample is being obtained. As the core is a solid specimen of tissue it is usually sufficient to obtain a definitive diagnosis.

The doctor will clean your skin and the Sonographer will guide the doctor into the area of interest to perform your biopsy. The specimen is then sent off to the pathology laboratory for testing to give you the final results. On very rare occasions the pathologist may not be able to make a diagnosis of the cell type due to an insufficient number of cells in the sample or the sample being compromised by blood products.

Ask our booking staff for how long your examination is likely to take. Most ultrasound scans take less than 1 hour. Once the examination is complete you may return to your normal activities unless specified by the Radiologist.

After your procedure

You may experience some pain from your procedure however this usually subsides relatively quickly following the procedure. If required, we will supply you with a small ice pack to leave on the area whilst you travel home. If you require pain relief following the procedure please refrain from taking any aspirin based pain medication, and please seek your doctor’s advice if you are unsure.

Complications of this procedure are very rare, however you may experience some localised bruising or redness. If you start to experience extra pain and heat in the area you should contact your doctor immediately.

If you are having an ultrasound guided biopsy, please see our checklists below.