What is a biopsy?
A needle is inserted through your skin into the bone or soft tissue to take a small sample to be studied.
How to Prepare for Your Biopsy
All Biopsy Patients
The Nurse Coordinator will review your allergies and medicines with you. We will give you detailed instructions if you take blood thinners such as Plavix or Coumadin, or, if you take medicine for diabetes.
We will ask you to stop taking aspirin seven days before the test.
We will ask you to stop taking NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) like ibuprofen, Aleve, or Advil, two days before your test.
Nothing to eat or drink for 6 hours before the test. You may take your normal medicines with a sip of water unless the Nurse Coordinator told you not to.
If you have sleep apnea, you may need to bring your CPAP or BiPAP machine with you.
Bring inhalers and any medicines you will need with you.
You must have a friend or family member drive you to and from the hospital.
Do not drive or make important decisions until the next day.
On the day of the procedure, enter the hospital through the clinic entrance and take the Atrium elevators to the 3rd floor. Check in at the (G3/3) Radiology desk.
Biopsy Without Sedation
A tech will bring you to the procedure room. The doctor will meet you in the room to explain the risks and benefits of the test. The doctor will also answer your questions or concerns. After, we will ask you to sign a consent form. Once you have given consent, you will be positioned on a cart or procedure table. A radiology tech will be there to help the doctor. We will clean the biopsy area with soap. The doctor will numb the skin. The doctor will then insert a needle through the skin into the soft tissue where a sample will be removed. The doctor may do this a few times to make sure there are enough samples. We will place a dressing over the procedure site.
Biopsy with IV Sedation
We will take you to a prep area where you will change into a gown. A nurse will place an IV in your vein. The doctor will meet you in the prep room to explain the risks and benefits of the test. The doctor will also answer your questions or concerns. After, you will sign a consent form.
At this point, we will bring you to the procedure room on a cart. We will transfer you to a procedure table. A nurse will give you medicine to relax you and lessen your pain. During this time, we will check your blood pressure, oxygen level, heart rhythm, and heart rate often. The biopsy area will be cleaned with soap. The doctor will numb the skin. The doctor will then insert a needle through the skin into the bone or soft tissue where a sample will be removed. The doctor may do this a few times to make sure there are enough samples. We will place a dressing over the procedure site.
After the Biopsy
You may feel a little sore. We suggest you take Tylenol® or your pain medicines. The soreness often last for 24 hours. You can shower 24 hours after the procedure, but no bath tubs, hot tubs, or swimming for at least 3 days.
If You Had Sedation
Once the test is over, we will take you to the recovery room where a nurse will monitor your blood pressure, heart rate, and oxygen level. Once you are awake, you can have something to eat. We will watch for the next 2 hours in the hospital. After that time, you will be allowed to go home. A nurse will call you several days after the test.
When to Call
Please contact your doctor right away if:
The area around the site becomes red, swollen, or more painful.
You have a white or yellow pus or drainage from the site.
You have a fever greater than 100.4º F or 38º C.
Who to Call
Musculoskeletal Nurse Coordinator:
After 5:00 p.m. or weekends, call
(608) 263-6400. Please ask for the Bone Radiologist. Leave your name and phone number with the area code. The doctor will call you back. If you live out of the area, call
If you need to reschedule, call
(608) 263-6871 between 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
If you need help right away, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room.
If you are a patient receiving care at UnityPoint – Meriter, Swedish American or a health system outside of UW Health, please use the phone numbers provided in your discharge instructions for any questions or concerns.