Radiology (Xray)

Ultrasound Scan and possible biopsy. One-stop sarcoma clinic.

RVI Radiology Appointments: 0191 282 4330; Freeman Hospital Radiology Appointments: 0191 223 1012

What is an ultrasound scan and ultrasound guided biopsy?Show [+]Hide [-]

  • An ultrasound scan is an examination in which sound waves (not heard by the human ear) are used to create a picture of organs within the body.  The picture can provide accurate information about the size, structure and movement of many parts of the body.  An ultrasound guided biopsy uses this ultrasound picture to guide a needle to take a small sample for laboratory analysis.

What preparation will I need?Show [+]Hide [-]

  • Usually none.  Printed instructions will be given to you with your appointment information if any preparation is required.  Ultrasound guided biopsy carries a risk of bleeding and it is important to let us know if you are taking antiplatelet (e.g. aspirin, clopidogrel) or anticoagulant medication (e.g. warfarin tablets, heparin injections). We will use this information to decide how best to proceed with the examination.  Please let the ultrasound staff know at the start of the scan or if possible before you attend for your appointment.  Contact telephone numbers are listed towards the end of this leaflet (see section “What if I cannot attend for my appointment?”).

Coming from the One-stop sarcoma clinic, what to expect? Show [+]Hide [-]

  • You have been offered an ultrasound scan during your clinic appointment.  By offering the scan straight after your clinic appointment the number of visits you make to the hospital will be reduced and ensure that you receive a speedy diagnosis of your problem.  However, this does mean that we do not know how many patients will be coming from clinic to the ultrasound department and some scans and procedures will take longer than others.
  • As a result there can sometimes be a wait for your scan and biopsy (if you require one, not all patients will).  This may mean a different experience to a booked outpatient appointment where we will aim to see you at a specified time.  If waiting is a problem for you, please let one of the staff know and we can offer a booked outpatient appointment for your scan instead, however this will mean a second visit to the hospital.
  • After your ultrasound scan you will return to the clinic with a report and for a further discussion with the referring doctor.

What does the examination involve?Show [+]Hide [-]

  • On arrival you may be asked to undress and put on a hospital gown. 
  • Once in the examination room, you will lie on a couch next to the ultrasound machine. 
  • A radiologist (specialist imaging doctor) will perform the scan by placing a small amount of clear gel onto the skin and gently running a small probe (like a microphone) over the skin surface. 
  • You may be asked to change your position slightly and hold your breath from time to time.
  • The doctor who arranged for you to have this examination has requested the radiologist to consider performing a biopsy as part of the test. This involves taking some small samples of tissue from the area of interest. The radiologist will explain whether this is necessary once he/she has scanned the area. 
  • The biopsy involves using the ultrasound pictures to guide a needle to take a small sample for laboratory analysis.
  • Taking the sample involves cleaning the skin with antiseptic, injecting local anaesthetic if necessary then guiding the needle into the correct position.
  • The radiologist will need to take a few samples of tissue (usually between three and five samples), this is to ensure that the laboratory get as much information as possible and to reduce the possibility of you needing another test.
  • The radiologist will answer any questions you have about the biopsy at the time.  If you have concerns before the test please telephone the department on the numbers listed towards the end of this leaflet (see section “What if I cannot attend for my appointment?”).

I have diabetes, does this change anything?Show [+]Hide [-]

  • No

How does it feel?Show [+]Hide [-]

  • In order to perform your scan it will be necessary to apply a small amount of gel to the skin surface in the area being examined.  This gel dissolves in water and will not stain your clothing.  The biopsy may be a little uncomfortable but should not be painful.  Local anaesthetic will be used during the procedure.

How long will the scan take?Show [+]Hide [-]

  • The ultrasound and biopsy will generally take approximately 30 minutes, however it does vary and you may be in the radiology department for around one hour or more, and you may need to wait both before and after the examination.

Who performs the scan and biopsy?Show [+]Hide [-]

  • Your scan will be performed by a Radiologist (medical doctor who specialises in interpreting diagnostic imaging).  The Radiologist will explain what happens and will show you what to do.

What are the benefits of having an ultrasound guided biopsy?Show [+]Hide [-]

  • Obtaining a biopsy sample enables several small specimens of tissue to be assessed in the laboratory.  This additional information can be combined with the clinical and ultrasound features to make an accurate diagnosis.  Using the ultrasound machine to guide the biopsy needle increases the quality of the biopsy samples obtained.

What are the risks of having an ultrasound guided biopsy?Show [+]Hide [-]

  • Ultrasound is considered to be a harmless method of investigating the body. There are no known side-effects from diagnostic ultrasound scanning.   The biopsy procedure is very safe. The common complication is minor bruisingBleeding, infection, damage to structures likes nerves and muscles are other possible side effects of biopsy, but these are extremely rare.  The radiologist (special imaging doctor) will explain all these risks before doing the procedure.

When will I get the results?Show [+]Hide [-]

  • The results will be sent to the consultant who asked for it to be done within two weeks of your examination.  On receipt of this result your referring consultant may invite you back to clinic to discuss the results or write to you

Can I drive home?Show [+]Hide [-]

  • Having a biopsy is safe and complications are extremely rare, but we advise that you do not drive home after an ultrasound guided biopsy.  You should arrange alternative transport.

I need an ambulance/ transport. Do you arrange it?Show [+]Hide [-]

  • If you need an ambulance/ transport, you should ask your GP Surgery for details of how to arrange it. You will need to give them at least three working days notice.  Please note that hospital transport is provided on medical need only.

What if I cannot attend for my appointment? Show [+]Hide [-]

  • If your appointment time is not convenient it is essential you contact the hospital department immediately so that a more appropriate time can be arranged.  This will enable us to reallocate valuable scanning time to someone else.
  • RVI Radiology Appointments                 0191 282 4330 (8.30am-5.00pm)
  • Freeman Radiology Appointments       0191 223 1012 (8.30am-5.00pm)

What if I have any comments, suggestions or complaints?Show [+]Hide [-]

  • Should you have any suggestions or concerns, please make these known to the person conducting your examination or by letter addressed to the hospital that you are attending your examination:
  • The Departmental Manager, X-ray Department, Level 3, Royal Victoria Infirmary, Queen Victoria Road, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 4LP
  • The Departmental Manager, Main X-ray Department, Freeman Hospital, High Heaton, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE7 7DN
  • Tel: 0191 282 1099
  • Monday to Friday 8.30am to 5.00pm
  • All Newcastle Hospitals: Switchboard tel: 0191 233 6161 (24 hours)
  • The Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) can offer on-the-spot advice and information about the NHS. You can contact them on freephone 0800 032 02 02 or email
  • Information produced by:  Dr G Hide, Consultant Radiologist and Dr R Sinha, Consultant Radiologist

Diagnostic Imaging DatasetShow [+]Hide [-]

  • Information from your diagnostic test will contribute to the Diagnostic Imaging Dataset. 
  • The Diagnostic Imaging Dataset (DID) is a database that holds information on the imaging tests and scans carried out on NHS patients. This will allow the Health and Social Care Information Centre to see how different tests are used across the country.
  • Nothing will ever be reported that identifies you.  All information is stored securely. It is only made available to appropriate staff, and is kept strictly confidential. However, if you do not want your information to be stored in the DID, please tell the people who are treating you. They will make sure your information is not copied into the DID.
  • You may, at a later date, still decide to opt out.  Please contact the Health and Social Care Information Centre directly, their contact details are:
  • Telephone: 0845 300 6016 
  • Email: 
  • Website:
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