What Is a Biopsy?
A biopsy is a procedure in which cells or tissues are removed for examination by a pathologist.
There are many different types of biopsy procedures. The most common types of biopsies include:
- Incisional biopsy
- Only a sample of tissue is removed
- Excisional biopsy
- An entire lump or suspicious area is removed
- Needle biopsy
- A sample of tissue or fluid is removed with a needle
- A core biopsy uses a wide needle
- A fine-needle aspiration biopsy uses a thin needle
- Image-guided biopsy
- Vacuum-assisted biopsy
- Uses a suction device to collect a tissue sample through a specially designed needle
- May be image guided
- Shave biopsy
- A sharp tool is used to remove tissue from the skin’s surface
- Punch biopsy
- A sharp, circular tool is inserted into the skin to remove a sample from below the skin’s surface
- Endoscopic biopsy
- Used to take a biopsy from inside of the body, including the bladder, abdomen, joints, or gastrointestinal (GI) tract
- Laparoscopic biopsy
- Used for the abdomen
- Similar to an endoscopic biopsy
- Bone marrow aspiration and biopsy
- Liquid biopsy
- Tests blood samples for cancer
- This is a newer technique
Does Biopsy Mean Cancer?
A biopsy is a common procedure used to diagnose cancer when it is suspected. It is usually recommended if a doctor finds something abnormal during a physical exam or other tests.
A biopsy means cancer is suspected, but only the results of the biopsy can confirm the diagnosis. A biopsy may help diagnose cancer but it can also rule it out.
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