Radiologist Questions Percutaneous needle biopsy

What can I expect after having a percutaneous needle biopsy?

I am having a percutaneous needle biopsy done and I feel very afraid. Will this be painful? What can I expect after it is done?

5 Answers

We usually give oral or IV sedation and use plenty of lidocaine. Most people don't notice much pain. It's a small needle stick.
Percutaneous needle biopsies are usually very well tolerated. Superficial structures can be performed with local anesthesia (numbing medicine). Deeper structures may use moderate sedation in order to make sure the experience is acceptable.

Please don’t worry. It is very straightforward. You will get numbing medication so you won’t feel it other than the numbing needle. Usually, there is nothing to worry about after the procedure.

Dr. Cox
Most patients are anxious before a procedure. It's something new and often they hear other people's horror stories. In the hands of an experienced physician, there should be very little discomfort. The injection of local anesthesia is often the only somewhat uncomfortable part as it stings for a few seconds until the numbing takes effect. Personally, I even decrease that minor discomfort by buffering the local anesthetic solution with a small amount of sodium bicarbonate. Any discomfort you may feel also depends on what area of the body is being biopsied. Some places are more tender.

Basically, the procedure should include:

1) A full explanation of the procedure. After, you will be asked to sign a consent form allowing them to do the procedure. Don't be afraid to ask any questions you may have before signing.

2) Preparing the area with antiseptic to prevent infection. Then, sterile drapes around the area to give a sterile work area.

3) Local anesthesia injection to numb the area.

4) Biopsy performed.

5) Area cleaned and either a Bandaid or Sterile-Strips applied.

6) Post-procedure instructions. This includes any possible restrictions activities, what to take if you have any pain, sign of any infection to watch out for, etc.

Bottom, line: every effort should be made to make the experience as painless and as easy for you as possible. I've had many patients tell me they felt nothing. Again, this depends on the area. I mostly do breast and lymph node biopsies these days. Biopsies of organs or tumors in the deeper areas like the chest, abdomen, or pelvis are similar, but a little more involved and could be slightly more uncomfortable, but should not be terrible.

Good luck!
Typically, long-term pain is uncommon. You can research using the internet for your particular biopsy type quite easily.