What is a CT Guided Biopsy?

A CT Guided Biopsy is an interventional procedure which involves the insertion of a biopsy needle into the body in order to collect a tissue sample from the area of interest.


Please avoid eating solid foods and drinking liquids other than water for 6-8 hours prior to the examination. Routine medications may be taken. If you are diabetic, consult with your doctor regarding insulin dose.

You are scheduled to arrive one hour before your procedure to allow for preparation. Upon arriving you will have a complete pre-procedure workup performed by the Radiology nursing staff. This workup involves starting an IV, drawing blood, and meeting with the Radiologist to discuss the biopsy procedure and obtain your written consent.

How Long Will it Take?

Interventional procedures in general last anywhere from 30-90 minutes, depending on the size of the area of interest and the number of tissue samples being taken. A CT biopsy will necessitate a post-procedure observation period to ensure no complications resulting from the biopsy.

What Happens in the CT Room?

You will be brought into the CT room and asked to lie on an X-ray table. A CT scan of your body will be taken to determine the best area of approach to the tissue of interest. The Radiologist will then clean off the skin over the determined area of interest with a special soap. You will be given numbing medication in the skin through a small needle. The Radiologist will then insert a small biopsy needle through the numbed area of skin and into the tissue of interest. You may feel some pressure when this happens. Once the needle is in the right place small tissue samples will be taken and later examined by the Pathology Department. The biopsy needle will then be removed and your skin will be cleaned off again, and a Band-Aid will be applied over the spot.

Will it Hurt?

There may be some discomfort associated with this procedure. Many cases can be performed with a local anesthesia (similar to Novacaine used by dentists). More involved cases generally will require the administration of painkillers and/or anti-anxiety medications. The most involved procedures generally will involve insertion of a small intravenous line and monitoring by our Radiology nursing staff in order to administer medications intravenously. Every effort is made to minimize any discomfort during the procedure.

After the Exam

You should feel well, but may experience some tenderness around the area that the biopsy needle was inserted.

Here are some guidelines for how to care for yourself after the biopsy:

Take it easy. Do not strain, lift heavy objects, or do physical exercise for the first 24 hours after your biopsy.

Keep the area of skin around the site clean and dry.

Getting Your Results

The pathology results from the tissue samples collected will be sent to your doctor about 3 days after the biopsy. Your doctor will then discuss the biopsy results with you.

Making an Appointment

When you call, we'll ask you for basic information such as your Social Security number. We'll ask you what type of test you need to schedule, and will schedule you for the best possible time. If you need to reschedule your exam, you can call us back and we'll be happy to arrange a better time for you.

When you call to schedule your exam, we'll also give you important information about preparing for the exam. If your doctor has scheduled the exam for you, and you have questions regarding the preparation or the procedure itself, you can call the imaging department where your procedure is being performed (please refer to our 'Locations' page for exact phone numbers).

Your physician will have several tasks to perform:

Complete the necessary paperwork to order the test (similar to writing a prescription for medication)

Fax, mail, or place the order in our computer system

Call us to schedule a test for you or have your physician call us directly

Obtaining Your Images

Exam Image Availability

DRC's state-of-the-art PACS technology offers you immediate access to the images of your radiologic exam. No longer does your physician have to wait to have copies of your films made. Although we can still print your X-ray on film for you with just 24 hours notice, your physician can now review your exam images immediately via the Internet. We offer safe and secure web access for your physician through Specialty Networks. Your privacy and HIPAA compliance is assured.

Images on a CD

If your physician prefers, the digital images from your study can be written to a CD-ROM, giving him/her a permanent record that can be accessed easily and quickly via a computer. CDs hold multiple studies and take up significantly less space than the traditional film in the brown envelope. A 24-hour notice is also requested to create this digital record for you.

Versatile Image Viewing Options

Internet access to your studies for your doctor is available immediately after your pictures are taken. Copies of your images can be obtained on a CD or on film with 24 hours notice.

Both Internet and CD viewing offer your physician the ability to digitally adjust your images in ways not possible with traditional X-ray film. Using the computer, the image can be made lighter or darker or zoomed for better visualization of a particular portion, for example. Your physician can fine-tune the images to accommodate his or her preferences.

Obtaining Copies of Your Images

To receive a CD or film copies of exam images, please follow these steps:

1. Call the location where your examination was performed (please refer to the locations page). Please provide your name and other identifying information along with the study being requested. With 24 hours notice, we can either create a CD-ROM or print a film for you. Our representative at the imaging center will provide you with the times available to pick up the exam.

2. To protect your privacy, please be sure to bring a picture ID when you pick up your CD/films, you will have to sign a Medical Images Release form when receiving your CD/films. If anyone else picks up your CD/films for you, please be sure to give him or her your written authorization to release your information to him or her.

3. If you would like us to send a copy of your study to a physician outside the DRC system, we will need a signed release from you along with the study you would like sent and the receiving doctor's name and address. You can fax or deliver us that release in the form of a signed letter at the fax number listed on the locations page. Please allow us plenty of time to send your films.

Any Costs

Currently the first set of films is provided at no cost to the patient. There is no charge for CD-ROM's and, of course, the Internet is always free.