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.

Aug. 31, 2012