October 2020

A biopsy is a medical procedure that is performed to detect cancerous cells at a suspicious site.

A radiologist or a surgeon usually performs the procedure. A biopsy is one of many tests performed which confirm the diagnosis of cancer.

Why a biopsy is needed?

A biopsy is needed when a doctor suspects a medical condition like cancer in a patient and wants to confirm it.

When a patient presents with other symptoms of the condition, a biopsy essentially gives the final confirmation.

Imaging techniques like X-ray and ultrasound can only show a mass at a site in the body. They do not tell about the exact nature of the cells of the mass.

Not all masses are cancerous. Thus, a mass cannot be ignored and a biopsy becomes necessary.

During a biopsy, the doctor takes out a small sample of tissue or cells and analyzes the sample in a laboratory.

With a small number of cells from the mass, the doctor can assess the presence of cancerous cells in the entire mass.

What are the Types of Biopsies?

Depending upon the medical condition which needs a diagnosis, there are different types of biopsies.

  1. Bone Marrow Biopsy

Bone marrow is the semi-solid material present in the larger bones. During a bone marrow biopsy, the doctor takes out a little amount of the bone marrow with a big syringe.

Bone marrow is usually taken out of the hip-bone. It is a painful process and the patient might have to be put under anesthesia.

A bone marrow biopsy is usually used for the diagnosis of blood-related problems. These problems may be cancerous such as leukemia and lymphoma.

They might also be non-cancerous such as unexplained severe anemia. A doctor may also perform a bone marrow biopsy to detect cancers that start somewhere else but transfer to the bone marrow.

  1. Endoscopic biopsy

In an endoscopic biopsy, the doctor uses a fine tube with a small headlight.

The tube with the headlight is then used to view the insides of the patient.

The tube also has small tools that can extract a small sample from the affected site for later analysis.

Endoscopic biopsy is usually performed with the patient under anesthesia.

The endoscopic biopsy may be performed to get tissue samples from the inside of the bladder, colon, or the lungs.

  1. Needle biopsy

During a needle biopsy, the doctor takes a sample of cells through a needle from the affected site. Needle biopsies usually target tumors that are visible such as breast lumps and swollen lymph nodes.

A biopsy is an important medical test. It can also be painful in some cases, but it is necessary regardless. You should prepare yourself before going into a biopsy.

You should make sure that you ask your doctor all the relevant questions before the procedure starts and also afterward when he/she explains the results to you.

In any case, it is strongly recommended to get your tests administered by the best radiologist with ample experience. They know how to handle the pain and ensure maximum accuracy.




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