Information for Patients
What is a needle biopsy?
A needle biopsy is a medical test that can identify the cause of an abnormal lump or mass in your body by removing small samples of tissue through a needle. Needle biopsies are minimal invasive procedures that are done without an overnight hospital stay. The most common sites that are biopsied include breast, thyroid, kidney, lung, lymph nodes, liver and/or abdominal masses.
What is a needle biopsy of a lung or chest nodule?
A lung nodule is usually a round spot of abnormal tissue located within the chest. Lung nodules are most often detected on either a chest x-ray or a CT scan and usually do not cause any pain or other symptoms. In many circumstances it is not possible to determine on the chest x-ray or the CT scan alone whether or not the nodule is benign (not cancer) or malignant (cancer).
A needle biopsy is also sometimes called a needle aspiration. During this procedure, the radiologist will use fluoroscopy, ultrasound or CT to guide a small hollow needle into the abnormal spot in the lung. The radiologist will then remove some of the cells from that abnormal spot. Those cells are then examined under the microscope by a pathologist to determine if this abnormal spot is benign (not cancer) or malignant (cancer).