Biopsy : A procedure to test for conditions and cancer


In order to study a small sample of bodily tissue under a microscope, doctors perform a technique called a biopsy.

Anywhere on or inside of your body, including the skin, organs, and other structures, can be used to collect a tissue sample. The word "biopsy" is frequently used to describe both the method used to acquire the sample and the tissue sample itself.

Although imaging tests like CT scans and MRIs are useful for finding lumps or abnormal tissue, they are unable to distinguish between cancerous and non-cancerous cells on their own. The only way to diagnose the majority of malignancies is to conduct a biopsy to gather cells for further in-depth analysis.

Reasons for a Biopsy

An examination using a biopsy can reveal abnormalities, which include:

  • functional - such as issues with the kidneys or liver
  • structural, such as an organ's enlargement
  • If abnormal cells are observed when the tissue sample is examined under a microscope, a specific illness can be identified.

The grade and severity of a condition that has previously been identified, such as the degree of inflammation, can also be assessed by a biopsy (such as the aggressiveness of a cancer).

When choosing the best course of action and gauging how well a patient responds to a specific treatment, this information can be very helpful.

Additionally, it can be helpful in determining a person's general prognosis (outlook).

A biopsy can be useful in detecting the following: 

  • cancer infection, such as in the lymph nodes
  •  tuberculosis
  • inflammation, as that which affects the kidneys or the liver (hepatitis) 
  • numerous skin conditions

As it is frequently impossible to tell from a clinical examination alone whether a growth or lump on your skin or within your body is cancerous (malignant) or not, a biopsy is frequently required (benign).

Different types of Biopsy

Needle Biopsy

A special needle is inserted through the skin to harvest cells from a suspicious location; this procedure is known as a needle biopsy. Percutaneous tissue biopsy is the term used by physicians.

Your doctor may do a needle biopsy on any places they feel through your skin, such as breast lumps and enlarged lymph nodes. A needle biopsy can be used to collect cells from a location that cannot be felt through the skin when paired with an imaging method.

Procedures involving needle biopsy include:

Aspiration with a fine needle. A long, thin needle is introduced into the questionable area during fine-needle aspiration. Fluids and cells are drawn out using a syringe.

Needle core biopsy. During a core needle biopsy, a bigger needle with a cutting tip is used to extract a column of tissue from a questionable location.

Biopsies aided by a vacuum. A suction device is used during vacuum-assisted biopsy to increase the volume of fluid and cells are drawn out through the needle. As a result, fewer needle insertions may be necessary to obtain a sufficient sample.

Biopsy with image guidance.  An imaging procedure, such as a CT scan, MRI, or ultrasound, is combined with a needle biopsy in an image-guided biopsy.

Your doctor can access suspicious areas on the liver, lung, or prostate that can not be felt through the skin using an image-guided biopsy. Your medical professional can ensure that the needle reaches the target by using real-time images.

Endoscopic biopsy

Your doctor will do an endoscopy in order to examine the internal organs and structures of your body using an endoscope which is a thin, flexible tube with a light at one end. A small sample of tissue is taken from the tube using specialised instruments for analysis.

Depending on where the suspicious area is located, you may need to have a specific sort of endoscopic biopsy. Your mouth, stomach, urinary tract, or a minor skin incision can all be used to introduce the endoscope.

Examples of endoscopic biopsy procedures include:

  •  cystoscopy, which is used to obtain tissue from the bladder
  •  bronchoscopy, which is used to obtain tissue from the lung
  •  colonoscopy, which is used to obtain tissue from the colon.

Skin Biopsy

Cells from your body's surface are taken out during a skin biopsy. The most frequent use of a skin biopsy is for the diagnosis of skin diseases, such as melanoma and other malignancies. The kind of skin biopsy you have depends on the sort of cancer you think you have and how many questionable cells there are.

Techniques for skin biopsies include:

Trim biopsy. Your doctor will scrape the top layer of your skin with a device resembling a razor during a shave biopsy.

Puncture biopsy. A tiny piece of your skin's deeper layers is removed during a punch biopsy using a circular instrument.

Surgical biopsy. Your doctor takes a little section of tissue using a knife during an incisional biopsy.

Bone Marrow Biopsy

Based on the results of your blood tests or if they have reason to believe that cancer is impacting your bone marrow, your doctor may advise you to have a bone marrow biopsy.

The spongy substance found inside some of your larger bones, called bone marrow, is where blood cells are created. A bone marrow sample analysis could help identify the source of your blood issue.

A bone marrow biopsy is frequently used to identify both malignant and non-cancerous blood issues. Blood malignancies such as leukaemia, lymphoma, and multiple myeloma can be identified through a bone marrow biopsy. Additionally, it can find malignancies that originated elsewhere and spread to the bone marrow.

 A long needle is used to extract a sample of bone marrow during a bone marrow biopsy from the rear of your hip bone. The sample may occasionally be taken from another bone in your body. A local anaesthetic or other medication will be administered to you to reduce pain while the treatment is being done.

Surgical biopsy

If the cells in question can not be accessible with other biopsy techniques or if earlier biopsy results have been equivocal, your doctor may advise a surgical biopsy.

In order to access the area of cells that are worrisome, a surgeon must make an incision in your skin during a surgical biopsy. Surgery to remove a breast lump for a potential breast cancer diagnosis and surgery to remove a lymph node for a potential lymphoma diagnosis are examples of surgical biopsy procedures.

A portion of a questionable area of cells can be removed surgically during a biopsy operation. All the cells could also be removed through a surgical biopsy.

To make the biopsy site comfortable, local anaesthetics could be used. General anaesthesia is used for some surgical biopsy procedures to put

Results of the study of biopsies

A tissue sample is taken by your healthcare professional, who then sends it to a lab for examination. The material might undergo chemical processing or be frozen and cut into incredibly small parts. After being mounted on glass slides and dyed to improve contrast, the slices are examined under a microscope.

Your doctor can decide if the cells are malignant using the findings of the biopsy. If the cells are cancerous, the results can reveal to your healthcare professional the type of cancer as well as the location of the cancer's genesis.

Your healthcare professional can establish the grade of your cancer with the aid of a biopsy. The cancer cell's appearance under the microscope, which is frequently stated as a number on a scale of 1 to 4, determines the grade.

The sample can be checked right away during surgery, and the results are given to your physician in a matter of minutes. The findings of your biopsy, however, are typically available within a few days. The analysis of some samples might take longer. The amount of time you should expect to wait for your biopsy results should be discussed with your doctor.

For further information please access the following resources:

Emergency : +91 89686 77907

Front Desk : +91 98018 79584

Page last reviewed: Mar 13, 2023

Next review due: Mar 13, 2025

Call us

Emergency : +91 89686 77907

Front Desk : +91 98018 79584

Follow us