Needle Biopsy

A needle biopsy is a medical test that can identify the cause of an abnormal lump or mass in your body. A specially trained doctor, known as an interventional radiologist, performs this procedure.

Using imaging guidance, the interventional radiologist inserts a small needle into the abnormal area and removes a sample of the tissue, which is given to a pathologist, who examines it under a microscope. The pathologist can determine what the abnormal tissue is: a noncancerous tumor, cancer, an infection or a scar.

Why would I need a needle biopsy?

The most common reason for a needle biopsy is to identify the cause of an abnormality inside the body. Imaging tests, such as mammography, ultrasound, a CAT scan (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), can find abnormal masses, but these tests alone do not always determine the problem.

The needle biopsy can help determine the cause and give your doctor needed information to provide you with the best care and treatment.

Reprinted with permission of the Society of Interventional Radiology (c) 2004, 2008; All rights reserved.

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