What is a Biopsy? 

A biopsy is a procedure in which samples of tissue are taken through a needle. At Victoria House these are mainly done to assess lumps in the breast, thyroid, lymph glands or parotid gland. There is a separate information sheet about breast core biopsy. 


What happens during a Biopsy? 

You may be asked to sign a consent form depending on the type of biopsy required. The radiologist will use an Ultrasound or CT (Computed Tomography) scan to identify the tissue that needs to be biopsied. You will be lying on a procedure table. The skin will be cleaned with an antiseptic.

The radiologist will inject a local anaesthetic to numb the skin. They will then guide the biopsy needle into the tissue to be sampled using CT or Ultrasound images.

Three to six samples of tissue may be taken. 

Following the biopsy, the small entry site is covered with a steristrip or sterile dressing. There are usually no stitches. You may be observed in our department for 30 min - 4 hours. You may experience some minor bruising in the biopsied area. 

The sample(s) will be sent to Pathology for study. Your doctor should get your results within 2 to 4 days. 


How do I prepare for a Biopsy? 

Generally no preparation is required. You will be advised if otherwise. 

If you take blood thinners such as Warfarin or Aspirin you may need to stop this medication prior to the procedure. Please discuss this with your doctor and inform us when you make your appointment.


How do I get my results? 

Your doctor will receive a written report on your test as soon as is practicable. 

It is very important that you discuss the results with the doctor whom referred you so that they can explain what the results mean for you. 


This information is credited to Inside Radiology, Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Radiology (RANZCR). 

June 2014 


Download Patient Information Sheet (PDF)