A biopsy is a procedure in which a small sample of tissue or fluid containing suspicious growth within the body is removed and examined in the laboratory. To obtain the sample, a needle is inserted into the area of concern and the tissue or fluid drawn into a syringe. If the suspicious growth is deeper inside the body and cannot be seen or felt during a clinical examination, an ultrasound imaging scan (a test that uses sound waves to create pictures of the structures within the body) may be used to guide the biopsy needle to the area of concern.
Ultrasound-guided biopsies are commonly performed to investigate abnormalities such as tumors (abnormal mass of tissue), and areas of tissue change due to infection or inflammation. This type of biopsy is most commonly used for breast, prostate, thyroid and liver.
Ultrasound-guided biopsy is usually performed as an outpatient procedure under local anesthesia. You are advised to stop all medications that affect blood clotting a few days prior to the procedure. A gel which helps conduct sound waves is applied over the area being biopsied. A device known as a transducer which generates sound waves is glided over the gelled area. Live images are created which help locate the abnormal tissue and guide the needle to the precise location. Once an adequate sample is obtained the needle is withdrawn. The specimen obtained is studied in the laboratory and the results help your doctor determine a diagnosis.
Following the procedure, you may experience some soreness at the biopsy site and may be advised to rest for 1-2 days depending on the area being biopsied.
Ultrasound-guided biopsy, as any invasive procedure may be associated with certain risks such as pain, bleeding, infection or damage to surrounding structures. Unlike radiation, ultrasound waves are harmless to the tissues.