Ultrasound Guided Diagnostic Biopsy Procedure

Patient Experience

  • Reference Number: HEY-934/2017
  • Departments: Radiology
  • Last Updated: 1 September 2017


This leaflet has been produced to give you general information about your procedure. Most of your questions should have been answered by this leaflet.  It is not intended to replace the discussion between you and your doctor. If after reading it you have any concerns or require further explanation, please discuss this with a member of the health care team caring for you.

What is an ultrasound guided diagnostic biopsy?

An ultrasound guided diagnostic biopsy is a procedure which is undertaken to obtain a tissue sample, so that your doctor can get an accurate diagnosis of any disease that may be present. It can also be used to obtain a sample of tissue to confirm that there is no disease present.

The ultrasound scan is used to guide the doctor or sonographer undertaking your procedure. The doctor or sonographer uses the ultrasound to find the area of your body from which a sample is required. A thin needle is used to puncture the skin and then take a sample or biopsy of tissue. The thin needle that is used can be seen on the ultrasound scan so that the doctor or sonographer can be certain a sample is being taken from the correct area.

In some cases local anesthetic is used to numb the skin before the sample is taken. You will be able to discuss this with the doctor or sonographer undertaking your procedure on the day.

Why do I need an ultrasound guided diagnostic biopsy procedure?

The doctor or health care team looking after you, want to ensure that they are obtaining a diagnosis for your symptoms. You may have a lump or an area of fluid that the doctor wants a sample of. Alternatively, your doctor may want a small sample of tissue from an organ. These can all be necessary to get a better understanding of any disease that may be present and can help the doctor and you plan for any future management or care that you need.

Collecting samples of tissues, fluid or organs using ultrasound guidance ensures that the correct area is being sampled and that the sample is collected as safely as possible.

Can there be any complications or risks?

There are very few complications. However, there is a very small risk the needle site may bleed after the sample has been taken, therefore, we will ask you to sit and wait in the ultrasound department waiting room for 30 minutes following the examination. We will check you are fine before you can go home.

There is a small chance that you may get an infection after this procedure.  You must inform your GP as soon as possible if, in the week following your procedure you experience any of the following:

  • a high temperature
  • aching limbs
  • painful swelling of the area were the sample was taken

Tell the GP the examination you have had an ultrasound guided diagnostic biopsy procedure and your GP will prescribe appropriate antibiotic treatment or refer you back to your health care team for further assessment.

If you have any concerns regarding pain or bleeding which is not settling phone your consultant’s secretary for advice.

How do I prepare for the procedure?

Your health care team will need to ensure that your blood clotting results are normal before they refer you for this procedure. If you have not had a recent blood test please contact your health care team or the consultant doctor looking after you, to make sure that the correct blood tests have been done.

Your consultant can be contacted via the hospital switchboard (01482) 875875.  No special preparation on the day is required. This test is unlikely to be painful.  You should ideally be accompanied home (but not on public transport) in case you have any pain or discomfort after the test. Therefore you are advised that you may bring a friend or relative with you to your appointment.

What if I am taking warfarin?

If you are taking warfarin please ring the Ultrasound Department Secretary on (01482) 675140 as soon as you get this letter, as you will need special instructions before you come for your procedure.

Can I drive following my procedure?

Yes, but we ask for you to remain in the department for 30 minutes following your procedure to make sure you have no immediate side-effects before you leave.

General Information

Please read the information leaflet.  Most of your questions should have been answered by this leaflet/booklet, but remember that this is only a starting point for discussion with your sonographer.  Share the information it contains with your partner and family (if you wish) so that they can be of help and support.  There may be information they need to know, especially if they are taking care of you following this examination.

Should you require further advice on the issues contained in this leaflet, please contact the Ultrasound Department on: Telephone (01482) 675140

General Advice and Consent

Most of your questions should have been answered by this leaflet, but remember that this is only a starting point for discussion with the healthcare team.

Consent to treatment

Before any doctor, nurse or therapist examines or treats you, they must seek your consent or permission. In order to make a decision, you need to have information from health professionals about the treatment or investigation which is being offered to you. You should always ask them more questions if you do not understand or if you want more information.

The information you receive should be about your condition, the alternatives available to you, and whether it carries risks as well as the benefits. What is important is that your consent is genuine or valid. That means:

  • you must be able to give your consent
  • you must be given enough information to enable you to make a decision
  • you must be acting under your own free will and not under the strong influence of another person

Information about you

We collect and use your information to provide you with care and treatment. As part of your care, information about you will be shared between members of a healthcare team, some of whom you may not meet. Your information may also be used to help train staff, to check the quality of our care, to manage and plan the health service, and to help with research. Wherever possible we use anonymous data.

We may pass on relevant information to other health organisations that provide you with care. All information is treated as strictly confidential and is not given to anyone who does not need it. If you have any concerns please ask your doctor, or the person caring for you.

Under the General Data Protection Regulation and the Data Protection Act 2018 we are responsible for maintaining the confidentiality of any information we hold about you. For further information visit the following page: Confidential Information about You.

If you or your carer needs information about your health and wellbeing and about your care and treatment in a different format, such as large print, braille or audio, due to disability, impairment or sensory loss, please advise a member of staff and this can be arranged.