Biopsy (Imaging-Guided)

What is it?

An imaging-guided biopsy is typically performed after an abnormality has been detected in part of the body or organ. A biopsy is the removal of tissue samples from the abnormal area with a thin needle or comparable instrument. An imaging-guided biopsy can precisely access areas of the body without surgery. Imaging-guided biopsies are often advantageous to a surgical biopsy because:

  • The procedure is faster
  • Smaller incisions are used
  • No stitches are needed
  • There is less bruising
  • Little to no scarring occurs
  • There are little to no cosmetic disfigurements
  • Quicker results can be obtained
  • It is less expensive

It can be done on an outpatient basis using anesthesia.

What is it for?

It is done when a mass or lump has been found. Areas where an imaging-guided biopsy are performed include:

  • Abdomen
  • Bone
  • Kidney
  • Liver
  • Lung
  • Lymph nodes
  • Pelvis
  • Thyroid

A biopsy is a key test to learn whether the abnormal tissue is cancerous.

How to prepare

Prior to your procedure, you should let your health care provider know about:

  • Your medications
  • Allergies
  • Heart conditions or surgeries
  • Bleeding problems or issues


  • Abscess, bleeding or infection at incision site
  • A hematoma or blood accumulation at site

What happens during?

In image-guided biopsies, a computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or ultrasound is used to guide the radiologist to the exact location of the abnormal tissue.

The needle is inserted and you should not feel much pain, only pressure. Usually, several samples of tissue are removed.

The procedure lasts about 30 minutes.

The incision will be cleaned and closed and a dressing is applied.

What happens after?

  • The sample will be sent to a laboratory for analysis. The results are usually available the next business day and are given to your physician.
  • Leave a bandage over the biopsy site for 24 hours and keep it dry. After removing the bandage, you can bathe or shower.
  • No strenuous activity, exercise or lifting for 24 hours
  • Use ice or over-the-counter medicines for swelling or pain

Side effects

Although relatively uncommon, a lung collapse can occur after a lung biopsy. Go to the emergency room following a lung biopsy if you have:

  • Chest or shoulder pain while breathing
  • Fast heart beat
  • Difficulty breathing or catching your breath
  • Blueish-colored skin