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Beyond the X-Ray: Radiology and The Use of Imaging Guidance For Tissue Sampling

The Huffington Post—July 29, 2009

Radiology doesn’t stop at ultrasound or x-ray images in order to diagnose orthopedic conditions. Sometimes tissue sampling, which is various procedures that are performed under image guidance to obtain bodily fluids or tissue (e.g., bone, muscle, etc.), is required for analysis.

Like any invasive procedure, there are precautions to tissue sampling. Helene Pavlov, MD, FACR, Radiologist-in-Chief at Hospital for Special Surgery's Department of Radiology and Imaging in New York, has some tips and things to keep in mind for patients undergoing the procedure.


Inform your physician and radiologist of any allergies before the procedure.

Laboratory Tests

Blood tests may be ordered within two weeks of the procedure in order to evaluate your blood count and to check your clotting profile. Inform your doctor of any medications you are taking, especially if they are blood thinners, as you will need to plan to stop them a few days before the procedure.


Be sure to inform your doctor and radiologist if you are currently or might be pregnant. X-rays are usually not performed on women who are pregnant as the risks generally outweigh the benefits of the test.

Risks associated with procedures involving a needle:

  • Infection – a constant risk when the skin is penetrated, but sterile precautions lessen it.
  • Contrast reaction – extremely unlikely, but some people are allergic to contrast. Symptoms include itching and hives.
  • Soreness – discomfort usually occurs at the injection site and lasts no longer than a few hours.
  • Bleeding – bleeding at the injection site may occur and a bruise may also form.
  • Fracture – very uncommon, but can occur in patients undergoing bone biopsy where the tissue is already weakened by underlying disease.

For questions or concerns before a tissue sampling procedure, consult your physician and radiologist.

Read the full article at huffingtonpost.com.


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