An image-guided biopsy is a minimally-invasive procedure done to remove some cells from a lump or abnormality your doctor wants to learn more about. Image guidance (ultrasound or x-ray) helps the doctor target a specific area for biopsy. After the biopsy, a tissue sample is sent to pathology for testing and diagnosis. This non-surgical procedure evaluates if the lump or abnormality is benign or cancerous.


  • Breast Biopsies : An ultrasound-guided breast biopsy is a minimally-invasive procedure done to remove some cells from a lump or abnormality your specialist wants to learn more about. Ultrasound helps the Radiologist target a specific area for biopsy. After the biopsy, a tissue sample is sent to pathology for testing and diagnosis. This non-surgical procedure evaluates if the lump or abnormality is benign or cancerous.
  • Fine Needle Biopsy : A fine needle biopsy (FNB) is used to evaluate tissues for abnormal cells, disease, cancer, or infection. A common type of FNB is a fine needle aspiration (FNA), which removes fluid and cells through a syringe attached to the needle. The procedures for FNA and FNB are very similar and are sometimes done together. Fine needle biopsies can be obtained from organs, soft tissues or tumours in many parts of the body including the breast, thyroid, and lymph nodes.  After the biopsy, the sample obtained is sent to pathology for testing and diagnosis.
  • Hookwire Insertion : A location device called a ‘hookwire’ sometimes needs to be inserted to the breast tissue prior to surgery. The hookwire marks the precise location of abnormal breast tissue to guide your surgeon during your surgery. The hookwire is inserted using image guidance, either ultrasound or mammography and is usually done within hours of your scheduled surgery.


  • We’ll give you a call before your appointment to talk through any preparation instructions for your procedure.
  • Please provide the name, address and phone number of any facility where you have had a prior relevant imaging examinations. If you have images from previous examinations, please bring them to your appointment. Our radiologist may need these prior images for comparison in order to make an accurate diagnosis.
  • Be sure to tell us if you are pregnant, breast feeding, or if there is a chance you may be pregnant.
  • On the day of your procedure, please arrive at 56 Fulford Street, 10 minutes early for check-in.
  • Please consider bringing someone with you to your procedure to drive you home. 
  • If you are having a hookwire insertion then you MUST have someone with you to drive you after the procedure.
  • A technologist will greet you and will go over a few health questions with you.
  • Depending on the area to be examined you may be led to a changing room to change into a gown for your procedure or your technologist will take you directly in to the procedure room to get prepared.
  • Once in the examination room the Radiologist will explain the procedure and any associated risks. Feel free to ask any questions you may have.

 If you are having a Biopsy:

  • You will be positioned on a table and the skin in the targeted area will be cleaned and then numbed with a local anaesthetic.
  • The radiologist will use image guidance to ensure the abnormality to be tested is accurately targeted.
  • The radiologist then inserts a tiny, hollow needle and positions it in the location of the abnormality.
  • Several tissue samples may be taken, and they will be sent on to a pathologist to be examined.
  • Once the biopsy is complete, the needle will removed, pressure will be applied, and the skin will be covered with a dressing.  You may experience some bruising.

If you are having a Breast Hookwire Insertion:

  • The technologist will position you for easiest access to the area.
  • The skin will be swabbed with a cleaning solution. A local anaesthetic will be used to numb the area where the needle will be inserted.
  • The radiologist will use image-guided technology to place a needle into the breast tissue. Once the needle is in position, a thin flexible wire is placed through the needle. The needle is then removed, leaving the hookwire in place to be used as a guide for the surgeon during a breast surgery.  The wire will be taped to your skin until your surgery and will be removed by your surgeon.


  • When your procedure is complete, we will give you assistance to get dressed back into your clothing as required.
  • Tissue samples will be sent to a pathologist for final diagnosis.
  • You should follow up with your specialist to discuss your results.


  • If you have had a breast hookwire insertion it is extremely important that you follow the radiologists instructions following your procedure to ensure that the wire does not move before your surgical procedure; limit movement of the arm on the affected side. Do not drive after the hookwire is inserted.   As you will be travelling to another facility for your surgery with a hookwire in position, make sure you have someone with you to drive you as you need to take care. Dislodgement of the wire may occasionally occur with very little movement. If dislodgement occurs, you may need to have the procedure repeated because the tip of the wire will no longer be situated in the lesion that needs to be removed.


Why do I need a biopsy?

It is not always possible to diagnose exactly the nature of a lump or mass detected by either your doctor or medical imaging scans, without performing an image guided biopsy of the area.

How should I prepare for a breast biopsy?

When we contact you to arrange your appintment  we will ask you what medications you are currently taking. If you are taking daily dosages of aspirin, aspirin containing products, or NSAIDS we will ask your to discontinue the medication for seven days prior to the biopsy.

If you have questions or concerns, please contact us here at Taranaki Radiology for clarification.

If you take blood-thinning medication, such as warfarin, please contact your GP to determine if you are able to safely discontinue the medication.

Is there anything I should do differently on the day of my breast biopsy?

Please eat a light meal prior to coming for your biopsy.

You may take Paracetamol one hour before the procedure to make you more comfortable.

For ease, please wear a two-piece outfit on the day of the procedure. We recommend that you bring a supportive bra (or sports bra) with you to wear after the procedure to minimize breast motion and discomfort.

Are there any restrictions after a biopsy?

This depends on the region being biopsied. Our staff will provide you with specific instructions for your post biopsy care.

How will I get my biopsy results?

We understand that waiting for the results can be an unnerving experience. Your results will usually be available 2 -3 days after the biopsy, and will be sent directly from the pathology lab to your specialist. We highly recommend that you discuss all biopsy results with your specialist.

Why do I need a hookwire localisation?

If you have a very small lesion in the breast found on a screening mammogram or ultrasound that requires surgical removal and it cannot be felt by your surgeon then a hookwire localisation may be requested.  For this type of lesion to be removed, it needs to be marked for the surgeon to be able to locate it during the operation.

Service Location: Fulford


56 Fulford Street, New Plymouth

8am-6pm Monday, 8am-5pm Tuesday – Friday

Phone 06 759 4317 extension 700