Skip to Content


A percutaneous biopsy is a procedure using a small needle to remove a piece of tissue from the affected organ or surrounding tissue. Examples of common areas biopsied are the lung, liver, kidneys, and adrenal glands. Biopsies are done for diagnostic purposes using either Computed Tomography (CT or CAT scan) or Ultrasound Imaging. When the doctor has ordered a biopsy, it is to help with the possible diagnosis of a disease process, cancer or infection.


There are some risks that come with a biopsy. You may have bleeding or get an infection. You could also suffer a collapsed lung if having a liver or lung biopsy. But, if you do not have the biopsy, your physician may not know the best way to treat your illness. The Interventional Radiologist will explain this to you before the procedure and will answer any questions you might have.

When your procedure is scheduled

  1. Our scheduler will give you a date and time to be in the hospital.
  2. You will be scheduled to come in two hours before the procedure; this is to allow the admitting staff and the nursing staff to get you ready.
  3. Please let the scheduler know if you take Coumadin, Plavix or Insulin. You will need to receive specialized instructions.
  4. Please notify us if you’ve had a previous reaction to contrast dye.
  5. The admitting department will attempt to call you the night before the procedure to confirm your arrival time.
  6. Please plan to leave any jewelry and valuables at home.
  7. Make sure that you have a ride home; you cannot drive yourself.
  8. If you have any questions regarding your procedure you may call us at 425-688-5507.


  1. Do not eat or drink for four hours before your exam.
  2. Please take your normal heart and blood pressure medications with a sip of water. You may also take any pain medication that your doctor prescribed.
  3. You need to be at the hospital’s admitting two hours before you procedure’s scheduled start time. This is located at the large desk at the hospital’s main entrance (across from Stanza’s).
  4. You will be taken down to your room where you will meet your nurse. You will be asked to change into a patient gown, and then an IV will be started and blood will be drawn for lab tests. The nurse will ask you for your medical history. Bring a list of all medications you take and when you take them.
  5. The nurse will also ask you about allergies. If you are allergic to radiology/contrast dye please let them know.
  6. If there is a possibility that you’re pregnant, please let the nurse know. You will be asked to sign a form if you are a female at a childbearing age (12-57).


  1. The procedure takes approximately 30 minutes to one hour. You will meet the doctor who will go over the consent form and answer any questions you might still have. He will look at your previous films and make the decision whether we will do your procedure in Ultrasound or CAT Scan.
  2. The Radiologist will numb the skin with a local anesthetic.
  3. You will receive sedation medication during the procedure to help you relax.
  4. During the procedure the nurse will be monitoring your heart, blood pressure and the oxygen level in your blood.
  5. The tissue that is taken will be sent to the lab for diagnosis. This will take about two to three days at which time a report will be sent to your physician.
  6. Once the procedure is over you will be transferred back to your room.

After the Procedure

  1. You will have a small bandage that will be placed over the puncture site. You may remove this the next day.
  2. Your blood pressure, pulse and puncture site will be monitored frequently by the nurse.
  3. Most patients will be discharged about two to six hours after procedure, depending on the site that was biopsied.
  4. You can expect some mild tenderness at the site of the biopsy which should go away in a couple of days.
  5. You will be given written instructions and a phone number to call if you have any questions or concerns.
  6. One of the interventional nurses will do a follow-up call the next weekday after your procedure. Write down any questions you might have for them.
  7. To speak with an interventional nurse, please call 425-688-5005. It is best to call between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. You can leave a message on the voicemail, and a nurse will return your call as soon as they are able.
  8. If you are on Coumadin and have been told not to take it before your procedure, you need to check with your physician, and/or the Anti-Coagulation Clinic for instructions.

    If you are an insulin-dependent diabetic, restart your regular dosing when you get home. Check your sugar regularly and if you have a concern, contact your diabetes doctor.

Special Instructions

Lung Biopsy:

Once you are discharged, call the radiologist or come into the emergency room if you develop any severe shortness of breath.

Immediately after the biopsy you will have a chest X-ray to check for a pneumothorax. This is a small collapse of the lung. Approximately one out of three patients develops this which needs no treatment and resolves on its own. On rare occasion a tube will need to be placed inside the space around the lung to help re-inflate the lung. Follow-up X-rays are taken until the tube is removed.

Liver Biopsy:

You can expect some soreness at the incision site and possibly into your right shoulder. This discomfort should disappear within a few days. You may take an over-the-counter-painkiller for the discomfort, but please do not take aspirin or Ibuprofen for five days after procedure.

If you develop a new onset of severe pain radiating to the right shoulder, please call Radiologist or come into the emergency room.

Renal Biopsy:

You can expect some tenderness at the incision site; this should gradually disappear within a few days. If you pass blood clots in your urine or develop flank pain, please call the radiologists immediately for further instructions. Please do not take aspirin or Ibuprofen for five days after procedure.

Contact Us

If you would like to schedule an imaging procedure, call 425-688-0100. To speak to a Medical Imaging staff member, call 425-688-5564.