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A fine-needle aspiration (FNA) biopsy is the removal of tissue, fluid, or very small pieces from a tumor using a thin needle. Local anesthetic is sometimes used to numb the area, but the test rarely causes much discomfort and leaves no scar. A small needle is inserted into the abnormal area in almost any part of the body, guided by imaging techniques, to obtain a tissue biopsy. This type of biopsy can provide a diagnosis without surgical intervention. FNA is not used for diagnosis of a suspicious mole, but may be used to biopsy large lymph nodes near a melanoma to see if the melanoma has metastasized (spread). A computed tomography scan (CT or CAT scan)—an X-ray procedure that produces cross-sectional images of the body—may be used to guide a needle into a tumor in an internal organ such as the lung or liver.
Clinical trials are research studies that evaluate a new medical approach, device, drug, or other treatment. As a Stanford Health Care patient, you may have access to the latest, advanced clinical trials.
Open trials refer to studies currently accepting participants. Closed trials are not currently enrolling, but may open in the future.