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Needle Biopsy



  • A needle biopsy is a procedure that uses a needle to remove cells or small pieces of tissue. It is used to help diagnose cancer or learn if cancer has spread.
  • 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?

In a fine needle biopsy, also called fine needle aspiration, cells are collected from the area. In a core needle biopsy, larger samples of tissue are collected.

The biopsy helps your healthcare provider make an accurate diagnosis and determine the right treatment for your child.

When is it used?

Your healthcare provider will examine you and ask about your symptoms and medical and family history before the biopsy. A biopsy may be done after or at the same time as imaging tests such as ultrasound or MRI.

Needle biopsies may be used to help your child’s healthcare provider diagnose infections, cancer, and other diseases, or learn if cancer has spread.

How do I prepare my child for this procedure?

  • This surgery is usually an outpatient procedure, which means that your child may be able to go home the same day or the day after surgery. Talk to your child’s healthcare provider about where your child will have surgery.
  • Your child may or may not need to take any regular medicines the day of the procedure. Tell the healthcare provider about all the medicines and supplements 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.
  • Tell your child’s healthcare provider if your older child is or may be pregnant or is breastfeeding.
  • Follow any other instructions your child’s healthcare provider gives 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 after the procedure?

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

  • How and when you will get your child’s test results
  • How long it will take to recover
  • If there are activities your child should avoid and when your child 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 get an infection or have more bleeding than expected.
  • 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 Change Healthcare.
Pediatric Advisor 2022.1 published by Change Healthcare.
Last modified: 2022-01-03
Last reviewed: 2021-10-15
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.
© 2022 Change Healthcare LLC and/or one of its subsidiaries
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