Cancer diagnosis and treatment at West Cancer Center involves a team of experts in multiple specialties. This multidisciplinary, team-based approach provides the net comfort to our patients that they are going to receive the best care available, right here in Memphis. 

What is a Needle Biopsy?

A needle biopsy is the removal of a small piece of tissue through a needle for microscopic examination. The sample is sent to a pathologist to determine if the tissue is cancerous, non-cancerous, infection, or scar tissue.

The biopsy is obtained under CT or ultrasound guidance. The area to be biopsied will be cleaned and the radiologist will numb the area with a local anesthetic. The local anesthetic is like a shot from the dentist. In some cases, you may be given IV (intravenous) medication, but you will not be put to sleep. You may feel pressure during the procedure. The biopsy usually takes approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour. Depending on the type of biopsy done, you will spend from 1 to 4 hours in our recovery room.

How do I prepare for the procedure?

No solid food after midnight the day before your biopsy. Clear liquids are allowed the morning of the procedure unless told otherwise. This includes: water, tea, broth, popsicles, coffee without cream, 7-up, sprite, apple juice, or white cranberry juice.

Medication Instructions for all Interventional Procedures:

  1. You must be off your blood thinners for 5 days prior to procedure. These medications include aspirin, Plavix, Coumadin (Warfarin), and Pletal.
  2. If you are on any of these medicines, please inform the doctor that prescribed them before stopping them.
  3. Please notify your West Cancer Center nurse or doctor if they are not aware you are taking these medicines.
  4. If you have any questions regarding your meds, including if they are blood thinners, please call 901-922-6707.
  5. Take any additional routine medications the day of the procedure. If you are on insulin ask your doctor about any adjustments that may be needed.

Your arrival time is 1 ½ hours prior to your procedure. We will need the additional time to do necessary lab tests, start an IV, ask pre-procedural questions and do a nursing assessment.

Following the procedure you will need to recover in a bed at our facility for 4 to 6 hours before going home.

You will need someone to drive you home. You will not be allowed to drive yourself. If you do not have someone to drive you your test will be rescheduled. You cannot use public transportation.

Post Biopsy Home Care Instructions

  1. Rest for the remainder of the day.
  2. No strenuous activity or lifting for 48 hours.
  3. Leave band-aid on for a day.
  4. It is not uncommon to have minimal soreness in the biopsy area for 1 to 2 days. You can take Tylenol for the pain if it is OK with your doctor. If you need something stronger notify your physician.
  5. Report bleeding, severe pain, difficulty breathing or other problems to your physician. If bleeding, severe pain, or difficulty breathing occur after office hours go to the nearest emergency room.
  6. If you have a question or concerns during office hours please call The West Clinic at (901) 683-0055 ext. 1050.

Who interprets the results and how do I get them?

It will take 2 to 5 working days to obtain the results of your biopsy. Your doctor will get the results first and will discuss the results with you. 

Printable Instructions

To print a copy of these instruction, click here for a printable PDF.