Many diseases, including cancer, can be detected with blood tests or seen with X-rays, computed tomography (CT) scans, magnetic resonance (MR) and Ultrasound (US). When an abnormality is seen, it may be necessary to obtain a sample of the abnormal tissue to confirm or rule out a diagnosis of cancer. The removal of sample tissue is called a biopsy. By examining the biopsy sample, pathologists and other experts can determine what the abnormality is -- for example, cancer, a noncancerous tumor, infection, or scar. If cancer is found, experts also can determine what kind of cancer is present and whether it is likely to be fast or slow growing. This information is important in deciding the best type of treatment.

Traditionally, biopsy has required open surgery. With interventional radiology techniques, however, tissue samples usually can be obtained without the need for open surgery.

Needle biopsy, also called image-guided biopsy, is usually performed using imaging guidance (X-ray, CT scan, Ultrasound). In many cases, needle biopsies are performed with the aid of equipment that creates a computer-generated image and allows radiologists to see an area inside the body from various angles.

Advantages of needle biopsy include:

  • the abnormality can be biopsied while important nearby structures such as blood vessels and vital organs can be seen and avoided.
  • the patient is spared the pain, scarring and complications associated with open surgery.
  • recovery times are usually shorter and patients can resume normal activities sooner.

Preparing for Your Procedure

Before Your Procedure

Your referring doctor's office will schedule your appointment with us and provide you with all information related to preparation and expectations for your specific condition and procedure.

You will need to arrange for a family member or friend to take you home after your procedure. Please note that you will not be allowed to drive yourself or to take a bus. You must have someone escort you by car or taxi.

When You Arrive For Your Procedure

Please wear comfortable clothes and leave all valuables at home. When you come to the main hospital you may go directly to the Surgical Day Care Unit on the basement level of the Dahod Building. This is where you will check in and prepare for your procedure. They will take you to the Interventional Radiology suite. If your procedure is a day procedure, not requiring an overnight stay, you will be brought back to this area when your procedure is complete. Your companion is encouraged to accompany you to check-in and may wait in the waiting area during your procedure.

After Your Procedure

Your recovery will depend on the type of procedure you have. Your doctor will be able to tell you what to expect after the procedure for your path to recovery. If your procedure does not require an overnight stay, you will likely return to the Surgical Day Care Unit. If you will be admitted to a patient care unit, your belongings will be transferred to your room for you and your companion will be notified.

Keeping You Connected!

There are a number of ways to stay up to date with Lowell General Hospital. Learn more about the latest health topics from our medical experts, participate in a class or a support group, review current hospital news, and take advantage of our many resources.