CT Guided Biopsies

The most common reason for people to have a tissue biopsy is to diagnose the cause of an abnormality, biopsies can be performed on both superficial tissue and deep organs. A biopsy involves the collection of a small tissue sample from the area of your body under consideration.

You or your doctor may have noticed a lump, or it may have been detected while having a medical imaging test for other reasons.

Deep organ biopsy is a procedure where a sample of tissue is taken from an internal organ such as the liver or kidney. Your doctor has will have requested this procedure to obtain further information about an abnormality or disease that may be present. Ultrasound or CT is used to guide accurate needle placement and to reduce the risk of complications.

CT guidance aids the Radiologist in finding the correct area when taking the biopsy, allowing the needle to be accurately positioned within the area of concern.

Lake Imaging performs CT Guided Biopsies at the following locations:

What to bring

  • A referral from your doctor or specialist is required for this examination, please ensure you bring this to your appointment.
  • Medicare or concession card
  • Previous imaging not performed at Lake Imaging


Depending on where the biopsy is being performed, this procedure may require that you to be admitted to hospital as a day or overnight patient. This will be arranged by your referring doctor in consultation with our staff when making your appointment.

Your doctor will also arrange for you to have a blood test 24 hours prior to your biopsy to confirm normal clotting function. Please let us know when booking your appointment if you are taking medication thins your blood.

You will be required to have nothing to eat or drink for four (4) hours prior to the procedure.

It is recommended that you have someone drive you home following your procedure.

What to expect during my procedure

You will be asked to change into a gown. CT images will be obtained to locate the abnormality and determine the best approach for acquiring the sample.

The skin over the area is cleaned with antiseptic wash and a fine needle is used to give local anaesthetic. This usually stings a short time before becoming numb.

An incision is made in the skin and the biopsy needle is gently inserted. CT guidance is used to assist in taking several samples from the area of concern.

With each biopsy there is a loud clicking noise, and you may have a feeling of pressure or discomfort. This procedure takes just a few minutes.

After the samples have been taken, the biopsy area will be pressed on firmly for a few minutes to reduce bruising and bleeding, and then covered with a dressing.

Your blood pressure, pulse and comfort level will be monitored by one of our nurses during and after the procedure, and analgesia (pain relief) will be given if required.

Risks and side effects

The risk of major complications in deep organ biopsy is rare (less than 1% of cases).

On these rare occasions complications may include:

  • Bleeding in the biopsied organ or surrounding tissues. This is usually mild and may result in some pain or discomfort in less than 5% of cases. If bleeding is more severe, you may require treatment including additional intravenous fluids or a blood transfusion, and very occasionally surgery.
  • Damage to adjacent structures, such as bowel, gallbladder or lung.
  • Infection.

Who will perform and report my examination

At Lake Imaging the imaging component of your CT injection will be performed by a radiographer (or medical imaging technologist), who has a degree in medical imaging.

Your biopsy will be performed by a radiologist, (a doctor specialising in medical imaging), who will send a report to your referring doctor detailing the procedure that has been performed.

The results from the biopsy will be provided directly to your referring doctor by the Pathology provider that the sample is sent to.

What to expect after my procedure

Depending on the type of biopsy performed you may be transferred to a ward for observation, where you will be required to rest in bed for 4 hours and your blood pressure, pulse, comfort level and biopsy site will be monitored by the nursing staff during this time. Analgesia (pain relief) will be given if required. You may drink and eat when you feel comfortable.

You will require someone to drive you home from hospital.

After the procedure, the biopsy site may be tender or show some bruising. We suggest taking Paracetamol or a Paracetamol / Codeine combination for pain if required. You should rest at home the day after your biopsy and refrain from strenuous activity for seven days.

Your dressing may be worn in the shower and removed after three to four days.

If the biopsy site becomes red, swollen or tender, or if you experience any "flu like" or other concerning symptoms in the days after your biopsy, please see your local doctor or contact the Lake Imaging clinic.

How do I receive my results?

The results from the biopsy will be provided directly to your referring doctor by the Pathology provider that your biopsy sample was sent to, this may take up to 5 days.

Please ensure that you make a follow up appointment with your referring doctor or health care provider to discuss your biopsy results.