Join or Renew and Choose Your Gift
- Offer ends Dec. 17
- Discounts on travel and everyday savings
- Subscription to AARP The Magazine
- Free membership for your spouse or partner
Biopsy is a diagnostic procedure in which a piece of tissue and/or cells are removed to be examined under a microscope by a pathologist.
Biopsies are performed to determine the presence of cancer cells, establish tumor grading, and provide more information for treatment.
Most biopsies should not be done on patients with blood clotting problems. If the patient has a low blood platelet count, a platelet transfusion can be given as a temporary relief measure, and a biopsy can then be performed. The physician should be notified of any bleeding problems—as well as any allergies, current medications, or pregnancy—well in advance.
Patients receiving IV sedation for a biopsy procedure will continue to feel drowsy for several hours, and should refrain from cooking, driving, or operating any equipment that requires careful attention. A ride home from the clinic should be arranged in advance.
There are several different types of biopsies, and the decision on which one is most effective depends on where the tumor is located and the general health of the patient. Four common categories of biopsy are fine needle aspiration, core needle biopsy, excisional biopsy, and incisional biopsy.
Fine needle aspiration biopsy, also known as suction biopsy or needle aspiration biopsy, involves applying negative pressure through the use of a syringe and hollow, hypodermic needle. This type of biopsy is often used as a diagnostic procedure on neck and thyroid masses. It results in the removal of tissue that is fragmented into cells, as opposed to one sample of undamaged tissue. Fine needle aspiration biopsy is a frequently performed procedure that results in minimum discomfort and is less costly than many other types of biopsy.
Core needle biopsy, also know as wide-core needle biopsy or cutting core biopsy, involves the use of a large-bore needle and is the simplest method of pathologic diagnosis of cancer. It results in minimal disturbance of surrounding tissues and a solid, intact sample. Tumors located in the liver and breast are commonly biopsied with this technique.
This refers to the removal of part of the tumor from the larger tumor mass. An incisional biopsy is employed for tumors located deep within the body and after an initial needle biopsy has failed to supply enough tissue for diagnosis. Biopsies of this type are the preferred technique for diagnosing soft tissue cancers and osteosarcomas.
Also known as surgical biopsy, the excisional biopsy entails the surgical removal of the entire tumor mass and is a diagnostic technique that simultaneously serves as a treatment. For example, a lumpectomy removes the entire primary tumor mass associated with breast cancer. Excisional biopsy is also useful for diagnosing and removing surface tumors of the skin, such as those associated with squamous cell carcinoma, basal cell carcinoma, and malignant melanoma.
Author Info: Sally C McFarlane-Parrott, The Gale Group Inc., Gale, Detroit, Gale Encyclopedia of Cancer, 2002
Enter your symptoms in our Symptom Checker to find out possible causes of your symptoms. Go.
Enter any list of prescription drugs and see how they interact with each other and with other substances. Go.
Enter its color and shape information, and this tool helps you identify it. Go.
Find information on drug interactions, side effects, and more. Go.
From companies that meet the high standards of service and quality set by AARP.
Members save on purchases from The Popcorn Factory®.
Members save from top retailers online at Everyday Savings Center powered by NextJump.
Members save 10% on all Amazon Kindle e-readers and the Kindle Fire HD tablet.
Get the most out of your AARP membership – opt-in to receive AARP emails today!
Register at a location near you to keep your driving skills sharp.
Find opportunities to volunteer in your neighborhood.
NASCAR champ Jeff Gordon teams up with AARP's Foundation.
AARP Foundation Prepaid MasterCard brought to you by Green Dot.
Nothing has been viewed