An image guided biopsy is generally performed when an abnormal mass or lump has been found in an organ (thyroid, liver, kidney, lung, etc.) or body part (bone, abdomen, pelvis, lymph nodes, etc.). A biopsy is the most definitive way to determine if the abnormal tissue is cancerous. Imaging studies alone usually cannot provide a certain diagnosis on which to decide treatment options.
During a biopsy, a small amount of tissue is removed from the abnormal area with a needle so a pathologist can examine the material for cancerous (malignant) cells. Radiologists use image guidance (ultrasound or CT) in performing biopsies to obtain tissue from the right spot and to avoid injuring important nearby body parts.
There are several image guided biopsy procedures available. Most of them can be performed on an outpatient basis. These biopsies allow a radiologist to access hard to reach areas of the body without surgery, but with the same or even better accuracy than a surgical biopsy. The specific type of biopsy chosen by your doctor will depend on the location of the lump and other circumstances.
Reasons for choosing an image guided biopsy rather than a surgical biopsy include:
No or minimal cosmetic disfigurement
Chronic smoker with cough since 2months and multiple episodes of hemoptysis. On CT scan, there is an enhancing left hilar mass causing collapse consolidation of the left lung and moderate pleural effusion.