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What is an ultrasound-guided biopsy?
This is a minimally invasive way of obtaining a tiny piece of tissue from an abnormal node or mass. This uses a special needle into the node via ultrasound guidance. The procedure is carried out under a local anaesthetic (you are awake but the area is numb) you will normally go home the same day. The procedure will take only 15 to 20 minutes.
Why do I need a biopsy?
Clinical examination or other tests (CT scan), have shown an abnormal node or mass. These other tests cannot tell exactly what the abnormality is or what treatment, if any, is needed. This can also be done to inform treatment to help with a diagnosis. The simplest way to find out is by taking a tiny piece of tissue and sending this to be examined by the Histology team.
A radiologist will be performing the guided biopsy. The procedure will take place in the imaging department.
What will happen on the day of the ultrasound-guided biopsy?
You will be admitted to Stour Ward two hours before the procedure.
You will have a hospital bed and be changed into a gown. You can eat and drink normally before the procedure is undertaken.
Before the biopsy is done you will need to be sent for blood tests which check your clotting levels.
If you are on any anticoagulants these will need to be temporarily stopped prior to the procedure, but the CNS team will discuss this with you.
When it is time to have the biopsy done you will be taken to the Imaging Department. A scan will be carried out to locate the lymph node or area that will need the biopsy. The area will then be cleaned with antiseptic and the local anaesthetic injected into the area to numb the skin and deeper tissue. This will sting for a short while.
Once numb, a small cut will be made and the Tru-cut needle will be inserted. You will hear a click and that’s the biopsy taken. There may be more than one sample needed. You will then have a dressing on the area and then go back to the ward after a short stay in a recovery area.
You can eat and drink as normal. You will stay on the ward for a short while just to make sure you are stable, then you can go home. The sample will be sent to Histology who will examine the biopsy. You will return to clinic for the results, in about two weeks’ time.
What are the risks and complications?
There are risks with all procedures but this is generally a very safe procedure.
There is a small risk of bleeding which can be controlled by pressure. There is also a chance the biopsy may fail to diagnose the problem.
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