Fine Needle Biopsy

A fine needle biopsy, or fine needle aspiration, is a test method used to collect tissue samples from the body for diagnostic purposes. Typically, a fine needle biopsy targets a lump or other abnormality, either one that’s detected by touch near the skin’s surface, or found with diagnostic imaging deeper in the body.

In the case of head and neck cancers, fine needle biopsy is commonly used to investigate the condition of lymph nodes in the neck.

The test itself is typically done as a short outpatient procedure, through the skin, but it may also accompany an endoscopic procedure. Local anesthetic and patient sedation may be used during the biopsy. There are few risks or complications associated with the procedure. Minor bleeding and local swelling and soreness is typical after the test.