CT Guided Biopsy
Your doctor has scheduled a ____________________________biopsy to be done by our
Radiologists on ________________at_______.
Enter UW Hospital through the Clinics Entrance. Take the Atrium elevators to the 3rd floor and
check in at the Radiology Desk in G3/3 at __________.
What is a CT guided biopsy?
A biopsy removes a small tissue sample. The procedure is done with the use of fluoroscopy
and/or computerized axial tomography (also called a CAT or CT scan). You will be on a regular
CT table for the procedure. If ultrasound is also used, a portable machine will be brought in to
the CT room.
How do I prepare for the biopsy?
1. If you are taking blood thinners such as Coumadin® (warfarin), heparin, or Plavix®, Pradaxa,
Effient, Apixaban, Xarelto, Ticlid, Persantine, Lovenox or aspirin daily, someone from
Radiology will talk with your doctor. We will decide together about when you should stop
taking the blood thinner and when you should start again. We will check with your doctor
about whether or not you will need special coverage for the 5-7 days you will be off your
blood thinner. Either a nurse from radiology or your doctor’s office will get in touch with
you about when to stop and re-start your medicine.
2. If you have been prescribed an NSAID (Ibuprofen or Aleve) by your doctor please continue
to take as ordered. If this medicine hasn’t been prescribed, please stop taking 5 days before
3. Since we give a mild sedative with this procedure please plan to have someone drive you
4. Stop eating 6 hours before the procedure. You may drink clear liquids until 2 hours before
the procedure. This includes black coffee or tea, water, and juices without pulp that you can
5. Take your usual prescription medicines with a sip or two of water.
6. If you have Diabetes and take insulin, please take your insulin as recommended by the list
below. Call us or your own doctor if you have any questions about this.
Novolog/Aspart, Humalog/lispro Apidra/glusine
Do not take scheduled dose the day of
procedure. If carb counting, take insulin to
cover carbs in the liquids. Use correction
insulin (“sliding scale”) for hyperglycemia.
If normally taken in the morning, take ½ your
Glargine/Lantus Take your usual dose. If you use >40 units
please discuss with the ordering doctor what
amount you should take the day of the
Do not take any oral diabetic medicine the day of procedure. Bring medicine with you for
after the procedure when you are eating regular meals. We will check your blood sugar in
our prep area before and after.
7. In our prep area we will draw a platelet count and INR, if needed. If you have had these labs
drawn in the past 30 days, please have the results faxed to ATTN: CT Guided Biopsy RN at
What can I expect during the biopsy procedure?
Be sure to tell the radiologists if you have any allergies to contrast dye, antibiotics, anesthetic
agents, latex, adhesives or other medicines. Tell the radiologist if you are pregnant or could be
An intravenous (IV) catheter will be started to give you fluids during the procedure. Medicine to
relax you is given through the IV.
After review of your x-rays and the first scans in the CT scanner, the Radiologists will mark the
site. After marking this site, the skin will be cleaned with soap. The skin around the needle site
will be numbed so you will have little pain. Most patients will feel a little pressure.
The tissue sample is taken using a needle inserted through the skin into the site. Several samples
are usually taken. The tissue sample is examined under a microscope. Most often, the doctors
wait for the pathologist to tell them if they have enough cells for an accurate exam before ending
the biopsy. Final biopsy results are often ready after 48 hours.
What can I expect after the biopsy?
A bandage will be put on the site. You will remain in bed for 1 to 2 hours. During this time you
may get up to use the bathroom. Call the nurse for help. Your pulse, blood pressure, and site
will be checked often the 1st hour. After 2 to 4 hours, you will be able to go home if there are no
After the local anesthetic wears off, you may feel some pain at the site. Your pain should not be
severe, but patients have described it as “somewhat sore”. No medicines are prescribed. If you
have pain at the site, we suggest the use of Tylenol , Motrin , or any other medicine that you
would use for a headache. The pain should go away within the first 24 hours.
You will not be able to eat or drink for 1 hour.
Tell the nurse if you have new pain, nausea, vomiting, or chills.
What can I expect after the biopsy at home?
You may eat or drink what you like once you are home.
For the first 24 hours
o Do not drink alcohol.
o Rest and take it easy.
o Do not lift greater than 10 pounds.
After 24 hours
o Resume your normal routine.
o You may shower.
You may remove the bandage over the site the next morning.
When should I call the doctor?
If you have more than a teaspoon of bleeding at the site.
If you feel dizzy, faint, or lightheaded.
If any pain or redness at the site gets worse after 2-3 days instead of better.
If you have a temperature greater than 100.4 θ F (38.0 θ C).
If you have any questions, please call the CT nurse coordinator at 608-263-0693 Monday through
Friday 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
If you live out of the area, call 1-800-323-8942. Ask for the phone number above.
Evenings and weekends call your local doctor or go to your local emergency room. Let them
know you had a biopsy done.
Your primary doctor or the doctor who ordered the procedure will discuss the results with you
when they are available. Final results may be available within 2 working days.
Your health care team may have given you this information as part of your care. If so, please use it and call if you
have any questions. If this information was not given to you as part of your care, please check with your doctor. This
is not medical advice. This is not to be used for diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Because each
person’s health needs are different, you should talk with your doctor or others on your health care team when using
this information. If you have an emergency, please call 911. Copyright © 5/2017 University of Wisconsin Hospitals
and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#6960.