Twenty years ago, doctors performed biopsies using a large surgical incision. Today, they can do the same procedure through a tiny cut in the skin, thanks to image-guided biopsies.
People typically need biopsies to diagnose an abnormality in the body, such as cancer. With image-guided biopsies, a computed tomography (CT) scan is performed during the procedure to provide a three-dimensional view of the abnormality. Then, a small needle is used to withdraw a tissue or fluid specimen of the area.
For example, in a patient with lung cancer, the CT image allows the doctor to specify exactly where he or she needs to extract a sample without needing to open the patient’s chest. The procedure is less risky because there’s not a need to use a general anesthetic and open the patient’s chest with surgery.
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