What is a core needle biopsy?

A core needle biopsy uses a long, hollow tube to obtain a sample of tissue to test for cancer. Samples are sent to the pathologist, who can confirm the diagnosis. Core needle biopsies are minimally invasive procedures that are performed during an office visit. They can also be performed under CT or ultrasound guidance.

A core-needle biopsy uses a needle to get the tissue samples. It should be performed by the surgeon (orthopedic oncologist) who will treat the tumor or by a radiologist who is experienced with bone and muscle tumors and performing biopsies of them. The orthopedic oncologist and radiologist will discuss the tumor and approach prior to the biopsy and are in constant communication. The patient is given an injection of numbing medicine (usually lidocaine and marcaine) into the area of the tumor that will be biopsied. The patient is also administered medicines intravenously (into the vein) to relax the patient and prevent pain. During the procedure the patient is comfortable. The physician makes a single stab hole in the anesthetized area of the skin and aims the needle in multiple directions to sample different parts of the tumor. In most instances, the procedure will be performed under a CT (pronounced CAT) scan so the tumor can be seen and biopsied accurately. Ultrasound or other imaging modality may also be utilized. Once the specimen is obtained it takes about 3-4 days for the specimen to be processed and interpreted by the pathologist.