A needle biopsy or needle aspiration is a minimally invasive way for doctors to sample tissue that may be cancerous. By combining imaging technology like CT scans, MRI, or ultrasound with needle biopsy, radiologists can find answers for patients without the need for surgical biopsy. Depending on the location of the tissue to be sampled, some needle biopsy procedures may not require general anesthesia, which means less recovery time and fewer health risks.
Needle biopsies have been commonly used for breast tissue samples for some time, now, with improvements to breast imaging technology, guided biopsies can provide more specific information than ever before, leading to better outcomes for the patients.
For thyroid nodules, which are areas of abnormal tissue found on the thyroid gland, a doctor may request a fine needle biopsy if imaging tests alone could not provide a definitive answer about the nature of the nodule, and to determine if the nodule is benign or cancerous.
The type of imaging used in a specific guided biopsy depends upon the type and location of tissue being sampled, a process performed by your Interventional Radiologist. The interventional radiologist will choose the method that represents the lowest possible risk for you, while selecting the accurate and detailed view they need to acquire a usable sample of the tissue needed for the study.
For more information on this and other radiology procedures, please visit www.radiologyinfo.org.