Ultrasound Biopsy

About the examination

An ultrasound-guided biopsy is an image guided procedure which uses ultrasound technology to help Specialist Radiologists perform needle biopsies.

An ultrasound, or sonogram, is a common procedure which uses sound waves to detect, diagnose, and monitor a variety of conditions. A needle biopsy involves the insertion of a special medical needle to gather tissue samples from lesions inside the body.

What is an ultrasound-guided biopsy?

During an ultrasound-guided biopsy, the Specialist Radiologist uses the ultrasound machine to locate and guide a specialised needle to the correct area of the body. The needle is then used to collect a tissue sample before being carefully removed from the body.

What part of the anatomy is examined during an ultrasound-guided biopsy?

Ultrasound-guided biopsies can be used to gather samples from different parts of the body. The most common ultrasound biopsy procedures are of:

  • Lymph nodes
  • Breasts
  • Liver
  • Thyroid 

What are the risks and complications of an ultrasound-guided biopsy?

There are no identified risks associated with ultrasounds. Unlike CT scans and X-rays, Ultrasound does not expose the patient to radiation.

There is also a low risk of internal bleeding and infection following a biopsy.

To reduce the risk of complications during the procedure, simply inform the doctor of any allergies, existing conditions or medications which may impact the biopsy or the results. 


Preparation for an ultrasound-guided biopsy

Is a special diet required before an ultrasound-guided biopsy?

No Special dietary preparation is required prior to the procedure.

If you are regularly taking any blood thinning medication, you may be asked to stop for a couple of days before the procedure.

What does the Specialist Radiologist need to know before an ultrasound-guided biopsy?

Before undergoing an ultrasound biopsy you should let the doctor know if you:

  • Are diabetic
  • Suffer from any allergies
  • Taking any medications (especially blood thinners such as Aspirin, Warfarin, Clexane)
  • Recovering from surgery
  • Immune suppressed

What to bring for an ultrasound-guided biopsy?

You should bring medications you take, along with any previous images your doctor may need.

What to wear for an ultrasound-guided biopsy?

You may need to change into a disposable gown, so you should try and wear something that is comfortable and easy to remove.

It is recommended to remove any jewellery around the area being investigated and keep it somewhere safe at home.

How long will the ultrasound-guided biopsy take?

The procedure will take between 30 to 45 minutes to complete.

Ultrasound biopsy procedure description

What does an ultrasound-guided biopsy involve?

Ultrasound-guided biopsies are usually administered in hospitals or specialist medical centres.

The procedure itself is very simple, although the exact procedure will vary depending on what type of ultrasound biopsy is performed. 

What happens during an ultrasound-guided biopsy?

When you are ready for the procedure, you will lie down on an examination table and a local anaesthetic will be administered; not all biopsies require local anaesthetic. You will be awake for the entire procedure. A gel will be applied to the skin and a transducer passed over the area so that the doctor can see, via a monitor, where to insert the needle.

Once the correct area has been located, the needle will be carefully inserted and a tissue sample will be collected. Several samples may be required. 

Post ultrasound biopsy instructions

What are the recovery details?

After the procedure a dressing will be applied. This should remain in place for 24-48 hours.

If the area that had the biopsy is painful some time later, a covered ice pack may be applied to the site or analgesia (Panadol) may be taken (as per dose recommendations on packaging). Do not take Ibuprofen (Neurofen) for 3 days after the biopsy.

Depending on the area that is biopsied, you may be advised not to do any heavy lifting for 48 hours. Should you experience any symptoms you are concerned about, see your GP immediately.

Can I drive home?

You will be administered a local anaesthetic so it is preferable that someone can drive you home.