Needle biopsy

A needle biopsy is a procedure to obtain a sample of cells from your body for laboratory testing. Common needle biopsy procedures include fine-needle aspiration and core needle biopsy. Needle biopsy may be used to take tissue or fluid samples from muscles, bones and organs, such as the liver or lungs.


Why it's done Risks How you prepare What you can expect Results

Your doctor may suggest a needle biopsy to help diagnose a medical condition or to rule out a disease or condition. A needle biopsy may also be used to assess the progress of a treatment.

The sample from your needle biopsy may help your doctor determine what's causing:

  • A mass or lump. A needle biopsy may reveal whether a mass or lump is a cyst, an infection, a benign tumor or cancer.
  • An infection. Analysis from a needle biopsy can help doctors determine what germs are causing an infection so that the most effective medications can be used.
  • Inflammation. A needle biopsy sample may reveal what's causing inflammation and what types of cells are involved.

You may also undergo imaging tests, such as a computerized tomography (CT) scan or an ultrasound, before your needle biopsy. Sometimes these tests are also used during the needle biopsy procedure to more accurately locate the area to be biopsied.

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