Font Size
A
A
A

Ultrasound Needle Guidance for Biopsy or Injection


Topic Overview

Ultrasound uses reflected sound waves to produce an image of organs and other structures in the body. This technology can help doctors pinpoint the location of tissue for testing or treatment. For example, ultrasound can be used to help guide the placement of a needle or other instrument during a biopsy. A biopsy is a procedure to collect a sample of tissue collected from an organ or other part of the body. The tissue is then examined for abnormalities, such as cancer, by a doctor trained to look at tissue samples (pathologist).

Gel or oil may be used on the skin to help transmit the sound waves. A small handheld instrument called a transducer is passed back and forth over the area of the body being examined. The transducer sends out high-pitched sound waves (above the range of human hearing) that are reflected back to the transducer. A computer analyzes the reflected sound waves and converts them into a picture. From this picture, the doctor can identify the location of tissue for biopsy and can use the ultrasound image to guide the needle into the selected tissue for sampling. The needle itself may have a special tip that is very reflective under ultrasound, so that it shows up well in the image.

Related Information

Credits

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerSarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerC. Dale Mercer, MD, FRCSC, FACS - General Surgery
Last RevisedMarch 18, 2013

eMedicineHealth Medical Reference from Healthwise

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

To learn more visit Healthwise.org

© 1995-2014 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.





Medical Dictionary