Needle biopsy, also called image-guided biopsy, is usually performed using a moving X-ray technique (fluoroscopy), computed tomography (CT), ultrasound or magnetic resonance (MR) to guide the procedure. In many cases, needle biopsies are performed with the aid of equipment that creates a computer-generated image and allows radiologists to see an area inside the body from various angles. This "stereotactic" equipment helps them pinpoint the exact location of the abnormal tissue.
Needle biopsy is typically an outpatient procedure with very infrequent complications; less than one percent of patients develop bleeding or infection. In about 90 percent of patients, needle biopsy provides enough tissue for the pathologist to determine the cause of the abnormality.
Advantages of needle biopsy include: