CT Lung/Liver Biopsy


What is a Lung/Liver Biopsy and what does it do?

A CT Guided Needle Biopsy is an invasive procedure uses CT images and sterile techniques to obtain tissue samples of questionable masses in the lung or liver. Under CT guidance, the Radiologist will insert a biopsy needle into the mass and extract a piece of it that he will then pass on to a Pathologist (a medical doctor who specializes in the diagnosis of disease in blood and tissue) for further study.

A CT Guided Biopsy is only done after a consultation with the Radiologist. A CT Scan of the area in question is required prior to any biopsy. Also, this is an invasive procedure. Consent forms are required and specific lab tests are needed the day of the procedure. For your safety you will be admitted to the hospital for observation afterwards for a minimum of 4 hours. Also, your doctor will talk to you about discontinuing certain blood thinners before the exam.

Who performs the test?

The procedure is performed by a Radiologist. A Radiologist is a doctor who specializes in the use of imaging for diagnosis of medical conditions. He is the physician who will do the invasive portion of your test. He will be assisted by a Radiologic Technologist RT(R). These technologists are nationally registered with the A.R.R.T.(American Registry of Radiologic Technologists) and licensed through the state of Florida in the use of diagnostic equipment and procedures. Also, the technologist performing your CT scan has additional CT specific training and registration.

Where does it take place?

CT scans are performed in the hospital radiology department.

How long does it take?

The procedure can take 1-2 hours.

What you can do to make it a success?

Please bring your orders with you when you arrive for your scheduled appointment. Be sure to follow any preparatory instructions you were given.

You can help assure a successful, comfortable procedure by carefully following the instructions of your physician, the radiologist and the radiologic technologist. Be sure to answer any questions they may ask about your general health.

Give them a complete list of medications you may be taking now, including non-prescription medication.

What to do before your exam?

For a CT Abdomen, it is recommended that you wear loose, comfortable clothing for the exam. You will need to remove dentures, glasses, hearing aids, earrings, hairpins and any other object that may be in the path of the x-ray beam. To reduce the risk of valuables being lost, it is recommended that jewelry and pins be removed prior to entering the exam room or simply left at home.

What happens during your exam?

You will be asked to lie down on a table attached to the CT scanner. The scanner itself is a large doughnut shaped machine with a large hole in the middle that the table will slide through. Your position on the table depends on the body part being scanned, and which position will allow the greatest access to the mass in question.

The technologist will then take preliminary scans of the area in question. These are called scout images and are used to map the area for testing. During this, you will feel the table move, but you will not be touched. The scanner will, with recorded messages, ask you to take a breath before each scan, and hold it for the duration of the scan (normally 8-10 seconds). For some patients, even this small amount of time is extremely difficult. This is understandable and we will not ask more than you are capable of.

Once the technologist completes the scout images, he or she will proceed will place a small plastic grid on the skin. This grid allows us to measure the distance and approach angle to the mass. Another set of images are then taken and the Radiologist use these pictures to calculate the best pathway to obtain the sample.

Once the target area is marked with a felt tip pen, the doctor will then clean it with a topical antiseptic solution and drape the skin with a sterile sheet. A tiny needle is used to administer a local anesthetic. This may feel like a small pinch. Once the spot is thoroughly numb, he will then insert a larger needle. This is called an introducer and will guide the biopsy needle to the precise location. When he is satisfied with the position, he will remove the sliding core from the introducer and insert the biopsy needle. You may feel some pressure from this, but usually no pain. The radiologist will take 1-2 samples of tissue and in some cases, a small amount of fluid. Once he is satisfied with the samples, he will remove the needle and apply a bandage to the area. This bandage should stay on for 24 hours, as a precaution against germs.

An additional set of images are then taken to insure no complications, and you are then taken to an observation room. You will remain under observation for at least 4 hours to insure your well being and to guard against complications. If there are no complications, you will be discharged at the end of the 4 hours, with instructions.

What to do after your exam?

The tissue sample will be taken to Pathology, where a range of tests will be performed to determine if the mass is benign or malignant and what exactly it is. This may take up to 2 weeks, so contact your physician if you have any concerns.

Unless you have other tests scheduled, you may resume your previous diet.

Contact Information:

Hospital (main operator): (850) 526-2200
CT Department: (850) 718-2583
Radiology Department (at hospital): (850) 718-2580