A biopsy is a procedure performed by a radiologist (doctor) in which samples of tissue or fluid are taken through a needle under local anaesthetic.

Usually several samples of the same area are required. Sometimes a biopsy requires imaging-guidance to accurately locate the right spot and when this is the case it is usually a radiologist who performs it.

The specimen is sent to a pathology laboratory and the result sent to your referring doctor who will then convey and interpret these results to you. The pathology laboratory may issue a separate bill to you for their services.

You will likely have a small bruise, swelling and/or mild discomfort at the site of the biopsy. Complications such as heavy bleeding or an infection are unusual.

You may feel more comfortable having someone with you to drive you home, however this is not always necessary. We will inform you of this when you make your booking.

You will be sent an information sheet about the biopsy before your appointment. If you have any questions about the biopsy before please do not hesitate to call us for clarification. Shortly after you arrive, our radiologist will explain the benefits and potential risks with you again and you will have a further opportunity to raise any questions you may have.

Depending on the nature of the biopsy, you may be required to stay at the clinic for a period after so that we may monitor you to ensure you are safe to go home. For most biopsies this is no more than 1 hour though for lung biopsies this is usually 4 hours. As such, you will need to take the rest of the day off work. We will provide a work certificate if required.

If you experience any unexpected or otherwise concerning symptoms after you have left the clinic (e.g. shortness of breath or undue pain) we urge you to call ChestRad and our radiologist will let you know how to manage this; if after our clinic hours, please attend your nearest hospital emergency department for assessment and treatment.

Preparation for your biopsy

Anticoagulants – if you take blood thinners such as Warfarin or Aspirin you may need to stop this medication prior to the procedure. Please discuss this with your doctor and inform us when you make your appointment.

Please fast for 2 hours before your biopsy (unless otherwise advised by us or your referring doctor).