If you suspect that there is something wrong with your health or if the doctor detects an abnormality in the body, then a biopsy might be ordered. This is when tissue samples are taken of the area in question and sent to a lab to be examined. The results will give the doctor a better idea as to what might be wrong and what treatment options are available. Sometimes, nothing is really wrong, but there could be abnormal cells that need to be monitored that could develop in the future.
Most biopsies are done to look for cancer. Samples can be taken from almost anywhere in the body. Mammograms can show a mass in the breast, a mole that is an odd shape or color can indicate skin cancer, and someone who has frequent bouts with hepatitis might have cirrhosis. If any of thee conditions are suspected, then the doctor will likely order a biopsy.
There are a few different ways that a biopsy can be completed. One is with a needle. A long needle is used to remove a small tissue sample from the area. This is the least invasive procedure and doesn’t leave behind a scar. If there is an area that the doctor can’t reach, then you might lay in a CT machine so that the doctor can see inside the body to get a better view of the area that is biopsied. Another option similar to this method is an ultrasound-guided biopsy. An ultrasound of the area is performed at the same time the sample is removed.
Bone biopsies are done to look for cancer. If the doctor suspects bone marrow cancer, then a needle is placed in the marrow at the pelvis to remove a small amount to have tested. With a liver and kidney biopsy, a needle is inserted through the abdomen to the organ to remove a small tissue sample. If a needle can’t get enough of the tissue, then a surgical biopsy might be needed. The doctor could perform an open surgery or a laparoscopy. A small piece of the tissue is often removed in this situation so that the doctor can get a better look at the area of the body.