Percutaneous Biopsy

Percutaneous Biopsy

Percutaneous Biopsy in Cyprus

Percutaneous biopsy is a procedure in which Dr Zertalis uses ultrasound (US) or computed tomography (CT) to navigate a needle through the skin to a part of the body so that a sample of tissue can be taken. This allows doctors (histopathologists) to look at the sample under a microscope in order to make a diagnosis. 


Imaging investigations that you have already had performed such as an ultrasound (US) scan, a computed tomography (CT) scan, or a magnetic resonance (MR) scan would have shown an area of abnormal tissue within an organ inside your body. Percutaneous biopsy of the abnormal area is indicated to establish a diagnosis and plan your treatment. 


Percutaneous biopsy is a safe, effective and accurate procedure, but as with any medical procedure there are some risks and complications that you may uncommonly experience.

Bleeding: Risk of bleeding that is significant following a liver, kidney or splenic biopsy is small. Uncommonly, a blood transfusion may be required and rarely an interventional radiological or surgical procedure may be necessary to stop ongoing bleeding. 

Pneumothorax: If you are having a lung biopsy, there is a small risk of air getting into the space (pleura) around the lung (pneumothorax). This is unlikely to cause any problems although rarely it can cause the lung to collapse which can result in shortness of breath and chest pain. A plastic tube (drain) will have to be inserted through the skin to drain the air and allow the lung to expand.

Failure: Rarely, some biopsies fail to give an answer either because the sample of tissue which was obtained is normal tissue or because the abnormal tissue that was obtained, is not enough for the histopathologist to make an accurate diagnosis. 

Dr Zertalis will explain the procedure and ask you to sign a consent form. Please feel free to ask any questions that you may have and remember that even at this stage, you can still decide not to go ahead with procedure if you choose to do so. 

Before the procedure

The procedure is performed under local anaesthetic and with sedation if necessary. You will be asked not to eat or drink for 6 hours before the procedure. Where necessary a blood test may be required. A short and thin plastic tube (cannula) will be placed into a vein in your arm.

Please let Dr Zertalis know about any medications you take, any allergies you may have and if you previously have had a reaction to the x-ray dye (contrast).

The procedure

You will be asked to change into a hospital gown and lie on your back, front or side in the position that Dr Zertalis has decided is most suitable. What happens does depend on where the abnormal tissue is in your body and which type of imaging is being used. You will have devices attached to your chest, arm and finger to monitor you pulse, blood pressure and oxygen levels. You will be given a sedative to relieve anxiety and painkillers where necessary. This is standard for all minimally invasive interventional radiology procedures performed in Cyprus.

The procedure is performed under sterile conditions and Dr Zertalis will wear sterile gowns and gloves. Your skin will be swabbed with antiseptic and you will be covered with sterile drapes. Dr Zertalis will use ultrasound (US), X-Rays (Fluoroscopy), or the CT scanner to decide on the most suitable point for inserting the biopsy needle.

Your skin near the point of insertion will be numbed using local anaesthetic, and the biopsy needle inserted into the abnormal tissue. When the local anaesthetic is injected you will likely experience a burning sensation for 30 to 60 seconds. Some discomfort may be felt when the biopsy sample is taken. 

Every patient is different, however, expect to be in the radiology department for up to 1 hour.

After the procedure

You will be transferred to your ward where your pulse, blood pressure, oxygen levels and the entry site in the skin will be checked by our team at regular intervals. You should expect to be in bed for up to 6 hours until you have recovered and are ready to go home. 

You should be able to drive in 24 hours. Please discuss return to work and exercise with Dr Zertalis as this varies between patients. It usually takes up to 1 week to receive results. 

Need more information?

Legal Notice

Medical information on our website was prepared in line with evidence-based practice at the time of writing. Our aim is to make the information as up to date and accurate as possible, but please be aware that it is always subject to change. We cannot accept any legal liability arising from its use. You are strongly advised to check specific advice on the procedure or any concerns you may have with Dr Zertalis.