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What Is Image-Guided Biopsy?

We offer image-guided biopsy to help diagnose problems related to the spine, bones, joints and soft tissue. An image-guided biopsy is a minimally invasive procedure using a needle to draw out fluid or sample tissue for testing. We use imaging technology such as fluoroscopy, CT or ultrasound to guide the needle to the correct spot. 

An image-guided biopsy often takes about 45 minutes to an hour. This is from the time you lie on the table to the time it takes to complete the image-guided biopsy.

How to Prepare for Image-Guided Biopsy

  • Consultation - Anyone undergoing image-guided biopsy must be evaluated by our staff prior to the surgery. Sometimes, a phone call works as your consultation, but we may also ask to see you in person.
  • Images - Please bring any imaging studies not performed at Mass General Imaging to your consultation appointment or procedure, including plain radiographs and MRI images.
  • Sedation - Your doctor or someone within the Department of Radiology will tell you if you need conscious sedation for your image-guided biopsy and will give you special instructions on preparing for sedation.
  • When to Arrive - Please arrive 30 minutes before your appointment on the day of the procedure to check in.
  • Risks - An image-guided biopsy is safe, but small risks include bleeding or infection. You could also have an allergic reaction to the injected medicine. Please let us know about any risks that concern you at the time of your appointment.

What to Expect After Image-Guided Biopsy

After we give your image-guided biopsy, we will go over any special instructions and let you know when it is safe for you to go home. We treat some patients under conscious sedation so we may ask you to stay at the hospital for one to two hours. For your safety, someone should drive you home after your image-guided biopsy.

After your biopsy, it’s important to follow the specific instructions we give you. You should take it easy for the rest of the day. You will receive follow-up care from the doctor who ordered your procedure.