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Needle Biopsy



  • A needle biopsy is a procedure that uses a needle to remove cells or a small piece of tissue. It used to help diagnose infections, cancer, and other diseases.
  • Ask your provider how long it will take to recover and how to take care of your child at home.
  • Make sure you know what symptoms or problems you should watch for and what to do if your child has them.


What is a needle biopsy?

A needle biopsy is the removal of cells or a small piece of tissue with a needle. A needle biopsy most often uses a thin, hollow needle put through your child’s skin into his or her body. A core needle biopsy uses a larger hollow needle to remove a solid piece of tissue.

When is it used?

Needle biopsies may be used to help diagnose infections, cancer, and other diseases.

How do I prepare my child for this procedure?

  • Your child may or may not need to take his regular medicines the day of the procedure. Tell the healthcare provider about all medicines and supplements that your child takes. Some products may increase your child’s risk of side effects. Ask the healthcare provider if your child needs to avoid taking any medicine or supplements before the procedure.
  • Tell your child’s provider if your child has any food, medicine, or other allergies such as latex.
  • Follow any instructions your child’s healthcare provider may give you.
  • Ask any questions you have before the procedure. You should understand what the healthcare provider is going to do. You have the right to make decisions about your child’s healthcare and to give permission for any tests or procedures.

What happens during the procedure?

The biopsy may be done at your provider's office, an outpatient clinic, or the hospital.

Your child will be given medicine called anesthesia to keep him from feeling pain during the procedure. Local anesthesia numbs part of the body where your child will have the procedure. General anesthesia relaxes the muscles and your child will be asleep.

Your child’s provider may use a CT or ultrasound scan to find the exact location of the tissue to be biopsied. The healthcare provider will insert a needle into the area to remove cells or tissue. The cells or tissue will be sent to the lab for tests. The provider may put a small bandage over the area where the needle went through your child’s skin.

What happens after the procedure?

Your child may have some swelling or bruising in the area of the biopsy. Follow your healthcare provider's instructions. Ask your healthcare provider:

  • How and when you will hear your child’s test results
  • How long it will take to recover
  • If there are activities your child should avoid and when he can return to normal activities
  • How to take care of your child at home
  • What symptoms or problems you should watch for and what to do if your child has them

Make sure you know when your child should come back for a checkup. Keep all appointments for provider visits or tests.

What are the risks of this procedure?

Every procedure or treatment has risks. Some possible risks of this procedure include:

  • Your child may have problems with anesthesia.
  • Your child may have infection or bleeding.
  • Other parts of your child’s body may be injured during the procedure.

Ask your healthcare provider how these risks apply to your child. Be sure to discuss any other questions or concerns that you may have.

Developed by RelayHealth.
Pediatric Advisor 2015.3 published by RelayHealth.
Last modified: 2015-04-30
Last reviewed: 2015-02-17
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
Copyright ©1986-2015 McKesson Corporation and/or one of its subsidiaries. All rights reserved.
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