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Biopsy & Drainage

Diagnostic biopsies, placement and management of drains.

Biopsy & Drainage

Biopsy - A biopsy is a procedure in which tissue or fluid are collected for evaluation. They are often key in diagnosing and staging a disease. Interventional radiologists use imaging such as ultrasound and CT to guide biopsies. This allows accurate samples to be obtained without large incisions. After the skin has been numbed, typically only a puncture the size of an IV needle is needed. Although the overwhelming majority of biopsies are very well tolerated with local numbing only, moderate sedation is available in certain situations. Virtually all biopsies are performed in an outpatient setting meaning the patient is discharged home after a short observation period. 

Biopsies include:

- Thyroid

- Liver

- Kidney

- Lymph node

- Bone marrow

Drainage - Drainage procedures are performed for a variety of reasons. These are typically classified as therapeutic or diagnostic, although may be a combination of both. A therapeutic drainage is performed to make the patient feel better and remove fluid which can be a source of ongoing problems such as infected fluid. A diagnostic drainage is used to determine what the fluid is and how it developed. Imaging such as ultrasound and CT are used to guide drainage improving accuracy and removing the need for surgical incisions. 

Drainage can be further divided into aspiration and drain placement. Aspiration is removing the fluid and leaving nothing behind. Drain placement is when a drain is left in place to allow for long term drainage. Drains are most commonly placed in large fluid collections, infected fluid collections, or if there is concern that the fluid will rapidly reaccumulate. If a drain is placed, we work directly with you and your healthcare providers to manage and remove the drain when appropriate. Drainage procedures are done with local numbing with moderate sedation in some situations.

Drainage procedures include:

- Thoracentesis – Drainage of fluid from around the lung.

- Paracentesis – Drainage of fluid within the abdomen.

- Abscess – Drainage of infected fluid. 

- Seroma – Drainage of fluid which arises after surgery or other medical procedures. 

- Lymphocele – Drainage of fluid from the lymphatic system, such as lymph nodes. 

In some cases, fluid returns despite drainage. For these, procedures to stop the return of fluid can be considered. Sclerosis is a procedure in which an agent is introduced to close the fluid pocket and stop fluid from reaccumulating. Medications can also be administered directly into lymph nodes or other fluid sources to stop fluid from returning. 

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