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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.


Before your procedure:

  • Arrange to have someone drive you home after your procedure.
  • Tell your healthcare provider about all medicines you currently take. He or she will tell you if you need to stop any medicine before your procedure, and when to stop. He or she will tell you which medicines to take or not take on the day of your procedure.

The day of your procedure:

You or a close family member will be asked to sign a legal document called a consent form. It gives healthcare providers permission to do the procedure or surgery. It also explains the problems that may happen, and your choices. Make sure all your questions are answered before you sign this form.


What will happen:

  • Your healthcare provider will inject anesthesia medicine into the skin near the mass to numb the area. You may still feel pressure or pushing, but you will not feel any pain. With a FNA biopsy, he or she will put the needle into the mass and remove a sample. He or she will move the needle back and forth inside the mass and remove more than one sample of cells.
  • With a core needle biopsy, your healthcare provider will make a small incision next to the mass. He or she will put the needle into the incision and remove the tissue sample. An ultrasound or other device may be used to help 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 have a fever.
  • You have pain near the mass.
  • The skin around your mass is red or swollen.
  • You cannot make it to your procedure on time.
  • You have questions or concerns about your procedure.


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.

Care Agreement

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.