A needle biopsy is a medical test which can identify the cause of an abnormal lump or mass in your body. A radiologist performs this procedure in the radiology department. During the procedure, the radiologist inserts a small needle into the abnormal area and removes a sample of the tissue, which is given to a pathologist, who looks at it under a microscope. The pathologist can determine what the abnormal tissue is: cancer, non–cancerous tumor, infection, or scar.
- First, the radiologist will use some form of imaging (such as live X–rays, CT, ultrasound, or mammography) to determine the best site for the biopsy.
- Next, the radiologist will wash the area where the needle biopsy is going to be performed and put local anesthetic in the skin and deeper tissues to numb the area.
- Occasionally an intravenous line will be started, so that the radiologist can give you fluids and medicines during your biopsy.
- The radiologist will then put a small needle into the mass or lump.
- This doctor will take X–ray, CT, ultrasound, or mammogram images of the biopsy area during the procedure.
- These internal pictures will help the radiologist to put the needle in exactly the right place.
- You usually feel some pressure during the procedure.
- The radiologist will use the biopsy needle to remove a tiny piece of tissue of some cells from the mass.
- A needle biopsy usually takes about one hour.
After your biopsy, you will be asked to stay in the radiology department for a set time period so that the radiology staff can watch you to make sure you are all right. Most people go home between one and four hours after their biopsy.
Take things easy for the rest of the day after your biopsy. You may be sore in the biopsy area for one to two days.
The tissue (or cell) sample is sent to a doctor, called a pathologist who will examine the tissue or cells under a microscope.
Usually, the results of the biopsy are ready in two to three days. It is best to ask your doctor for the exam results.
Indications of Needle Biopsy
Cause of an abnormal lump somewhere deep in your body.