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Superficial Mass Needle Biopsy


A superficial mass needle biopsy is a procedure to remove cells or tissue located just under your skin. A fine needle aspiration (FNA) biopsy is used to remove a sample of cells or fluid. A core needle biopsy is used to remove tissue. The samples are then sent to a lab and tested for cancer.


Before your procedure:

Informed consent

is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.

During your procedure:

  • Your healthcare provider will inject anesthesia medicine into the skin near the mass to numb the area. If your healthcare provider is doing an FNA biopsy, he will put the needle into the mass and pull fluid into a syringe. He will move the needle back and forth inside the mass and remove more than one sample of cells.
  • If you have a core needle biopsy, your healthcare provider will make a small incision next to the mass. He will put the needle into the incision and remove the tissue sample. He may use an ultrasound or other device to help him find the best place to remove cells or tissue.

After your procedure:

A small bandage may be placed over the area where the needle was put into your skin. Your healthcare provider may have you put pressure on this bandage to help decrease swelling. Do not get out of bed until your healthcare provider says it is okay. When your healthcare provider sees that you are okay, you may be able to go home.


  • You may have pain or bruising in the area where you had your biopsy. You may get an infection where the needle entered your body. The needle may cause nerve damage. You may bleed more than expected. If you have cancer, your biopsy may not show it. The needle may break cancer cells and cause cancer to spread to other tissue or organs.
  • If you do not have this procedure, your healthcare provider may not know the cause of the mass. Without the procedure, treatment may be delayed and your condition could get worse.


You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.