Image-guided biopsy (or needle biopsy) is a medical test performed by interventional radiologists to identify the cause of a lump or mass or other abnormal condition in the body.
During the procedure, the doctor inserts a small needle, guided by X-ray or other imaging technique, into the abnormal area. A tissue sample is removed and given to a pathologist who looks at it under a microscope to determine what the abnormality is – for example, cancer, a noncancerous tumor, infection or scar.
Many lives can be saved when women have routine mammograms – an X-ray examination of the breast that can detect breast cancer in its earliest and most curable stages. Most abnormalities seen on mammograms are not cancer. Often, the only way to make a diagnosis is to perform a biopsy in which a tissue sample is removed from the breast for analysis – a procedure that in the past required surgery. With Image-guided biopsy (also known as stereotactic breast biopsy) X-ray imaging is used to guide a needle to the lump or mass in order to remove small tissue samples for analysis.
Image-guided biopsies are also performed using CT, angiography and ultrasound to collect tissue from many different parts of the body.
Today many conditions that once required surgery can be treated non-surgically by interventional radiologists. Interventional radiology treatments offer less risk, less pain and less recovery time compared to open surgery.
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