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CT-Guided Biopsy

Definition, Purpose, Precautions, Description, Preparation, Risks, Normal results

Computed tomography (CT) is a process that images anatomic information from a cross-sectional plane of the body. Biopsy is the process of taking a sample of tissue from the body for analysis. CT is commonly used in biopsies to provide images that help guide the tools or equipment necessary to perform the biopsy to the appropriate area of the body.


CT is used in the process of performing a biopsy, such as a needle biopsy, in order to guide the needle to the site of the biopsy and to provide rapid and precise localization of the needle. CT enables imaging of areas that are normally beyond visible boundaries. This enables the physician to see the target area clearly and help to ensure that the tissue being removed is from the target lesion.


The patient that suffers from claustrophobia will want to discuss this with their physician. This procedure involves the patient being placed into the CT scanner, typically a small, enclosed area. Depending on the specific type of biopsies being performed, certain anesthetics will be used, so discuss drug allergies with your physician.


CT can assist in providing more enhanced images of a suspicious lesion. It helps to determine whether a tumor is truly solitary or not. CT can characterize the tumor and aid in the estimation of malignancy.


Since there are many different types of biopsies, you should follow the instructions from your physician to prepare for your CT-guided biopsy. Patients who suffer from claustrophobia should discuss their concerns with the physician. In some cases, medicine can be given that will relax the patient during the procedure.


CT-guided biopsy does not increase the risk of the biopsy any more than any other radiologic imaging such as x ray.

Normal results

Because the area being biopsied, as well as the specific type of biopsy procedure can vary, results will vary. Before undergoing the procedure, notification procedure should be clearly defined.



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Tierney, Lawrence, et. al. Current Medical Diagnosis and Treatment. Los Altos: Lange Medical Publications, 2001.


Garpestad, E., et. al. "CT Fluoroscopy Guidance for Transbronchial Needle Aspiration." Chest 119 (February 2001).

Shaffer, K. "Role of Radiology for Imaging and Biopsy of Solitary Pulmonary Nodules." Chest 116 (December 1999).

White, C.S., C.A. Meyer, and P. A. Templeton. "CT Fluoroscopy for Throacic Interventional Procedures." Radiologic Clinics of North America 38 (March 2000).

White, C.S., et. al. "Transbronchial Needle Aspiration: Guidance with CT Fluoroscopy." Chest 118 (December 2000).

Kim A. Sharp


Lesion—A pathologic change in tissues.

Malignancy—A locally invasive and destructive growth.

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