This is a procedure which uses a needle to get a small piece of tissue for diagnosis. The risks of the procedure depend on the organ being biopsied and the size of the needle needed to get the tissue. The procedure is performed with either ultrasound, CT or x-ray guidance. Local anesthesia is always used, sedation may be used if necessary and when possible as patient cooperation is sometimes vital for the procedure.

Bone Biopsy – CT or x-rays may be used to place a needle into the bone to obtain tissue.

Breast Biopsy and Aspiration – Suspicious lesions in the breast may be biopsied using ultrasound, MRI or a special mammography machine depending on the lesion being biopsied. The procedure is performed with local anesthesia. A small amount of bruising is normal after the procedure.

Kidney Biopsy – Ultrasound or CT may be used to place a needle into the kidney to obtain tissue. Because the kidneys are closest to the back, you will need to lie on your stomach during the procedure.

Liver Biopsy – Ultrasound or CT may be used to place a needle into the liver to obtain tissue. In patients that are at high risk for bleeding, the biopsy may be performed from a vein in the neck. Patients will need to lie on their right side for at least an hour after the procedure to minimize the chance of bleeding. You will need to be observed for 2-4 hours to watch for signs of bleeding. Rarely, severe bleeding may develop and patients may need another procedure to stop it.

Lung Biopsy – In this procedure, a needle is guided to the area using intermittent CT guidance to ensure that the needle is going to the proper area. Patients may need to lie on their back, stomach or side and will often need to hold their breath. Usually the procedure can be performed with minimal discomfort using local anesthesia. It is not unusual however that patients may cough up a small amount of blood after the procedure.

The most common and not unexpected complication of a lung biopsy is lung collapse. If the lung collapse is small and does not change, nothing need be done and patients may be sent home. If the collapse is large or growing, a small tube may need to be inserted into the lung to help it re-expand. In this case, patients will need to be kept in the hospital, typically for 1-2 days until their lung re-expands.

Thyroid Biopsy – Ultrasound may be used to place a needle into the thyroid to obtain a biopsy. There is a small risk of bleeding or infection with this procedure. Patients may feel pain radiating up to their ear during the procedure.

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