A biopsy is a procedure during which a small tissue sample from the required organ and the sample is analysed in the lab. This is performed to accurately diagnose the problem and plan for appropriate treatment or evaluate the response to ongoing treatment.
The biopsy is most commonly carried out under local anaesthesia in an awake patient. The patient will be lying down on their back or on their front depending on the location of the organ which needs to be sampled. The overlying skin will be cleaned with antiseptic and local anaesthetic will be given to numb the skin at the biopsy site. An injection of a mild sedative can also be given to ensure that you are comfortable and relaxed during the procedure. A locating needle is inserted into the organ under ultrasound or CT guidance. Once the position is verified, another needle will be inserted to obtain the required tissue samples. Usually, two to six biopsy passes are done. At the end of the procedure, if needed, material can be inserted via the outer needle into the biopsy tract to prevent bleeding. This is called “tract embolization” and is required in some cases.