Image-Guided Biopsy

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The board-certified interventional radiologists at UT Southwestern Medical Center use image-guided biopsy to help with difficult diagnoses for a variety of diseases, such as cancer, liver and kidney disease, and infectious diseases. 

Innovative Diagnostic Techniques

A biopsy is a minimally invasive method of sampling tissue to determine if it is benign, malignant, or infectious. An image-guided biopsy uses imaging technology that enables us to safely insert needles into hard-to-reach places in the body, such as the lungs, kidneys, liver, lymph nodes, and the bones. 

UT Southwestern’s Comprehensive Noninvasive Vascular Imaging Laboratory uses minimally invasive diagnostic techniques, which offer fewer risks and shorter recovery times for our patients. In addition to image-guided biopsy, we also offer noninvasive vascular imaging and venous sampling.        

Our team uses computed tomography (CT), real-time X-ray (fluoroscopy), ultrasound, and sometimes a combination of these imaging techniques to conduct image-guided biopsies.

Our team of interventional radiologists and physician assistants coordinates each patient’s complete care – from imaging evaluation to post-procedure follow-up – maintaining a high level of communication with the patient and his or her physician throughout the process. In addition, we coordinate closely with experts from across the UT Southwestern community. 


We typically use biopsies to diagnose lymphoma, kidney cancer, liver cancer, lung cancer, and other soft tissue cancer. A biopsy might also be needed to diagnose a variety of other conditions, such as kidney, liver, interstitial lung, or infectious diseases. 

Results from these biopsies are used by our world-class oncologists, infectious disease specialists, rheumatologists, kidney and liver specialists, and surgeons to make important treatment decisions.

Preparing for Image-Guided Biopsy

Biopsies are performed with conscious sedation, a process in which the patient is given medication to feel sleepy but is not unconscious. Conscious sedation requires that patients not eat for eight hours before the procedure. Most medications can be taken the morning of the procedure except those that affect blood clotting, such as aspirin, Plavix, Lovenox, or Coumadin. 

Patients who are taking one of these medications might need to stop taking it or be switched to another medicine for a few days before the procedure. Medication management will be coordinated by our team, if necessary. 

Most biopsies are performed on an outpatient basis. However, depending on what organ is being biopsied, there might be an observation period of up to four hours following the procedure.

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