Core Needle Biopsy
What is a core needle biopsy?
A core needle biopsy is a medical test to remove a piece of tissue from a lesion or mass. The tissue is then tested to find out what it is. A core needle biopsy can remove more tissue than a fine needle biopsy. Because of this, it can provide more information about the cells and tissue removed.
Core needle biopsy can be used on most parts of the body. The most common are:
- Lymph nodes.
How do I prepare for a core needle biopsy?
Usually, there is no need to prepare for this test. However, if you are on blood thinners, you may need to stop them several days before the test.
How is this test performed?
Local anesthesia, such as lidocaine, will be used to numb the area. Once the area is numb, a needle (about the size of a needle used to draw blood) will be put into the lesion or mass and tissue will be removed. This may be done several times to make sure enough tissue is removed for testing. The actual insertion and removal of the needle takes about 1 minute but may be done more than once. The entire biopsy takes about 15-30 minutes.
If your provider is unable to see or feel the lesion or mass, then an ultrasound, x-ray, or CT scan can be used to help find the area to biopsy.
What to expect after your core needle biopsy?
As the numbing medication wears off you may have some discomfort. You may have a small amount of bleeding at the site of the biopsy.
In some cases, a pocket of blood, or a hematoma, will collect in the area of the biopsy. This can be uncomfortable but should resolve over the next few days. If there is severe pain following the procedure, you should contact your provider right away.
How do you receive the results of your core needle biopsy?
The tissue sample is reviewed by a pathologist and a report is written. The pathology report provides information about the patient and the reason for the test. The report will likely detail both normal and abnormal findings. Your provider will be able to discuss your results with you. You may want to ask for a copy for your records.
American Cancer Society. Core Needle Biopsy of the Breast. 2017. Found at https://www.cancer.org/cancer/breast-cancer/screening-tests-and-early-detection/breast-biopsy/core-needle-biopsy-of-the-breast.html
ASCO. Biopsy. 2019. Found at https://www.cancer.net/navigating-cancer-care/diagnosing-cancer/tests-and-procedures/biopsy