What is a biopsy?
A biopsy is the process of taking a tissue sample from the patient’s body so that it can be examined more carefully to come up with a more accurate assessment. A biopsy is recommended when initial tests suggest that there is an abnormality in the tissues in certain areas of the patient’s body. Because the nature of these abnormal growths is unknown to the doctors, they are giving tags like lesions, tumors, or masses. A biopsy is usually ordered after a thorough physical examination, or imaging tests, that expose the suspicious tissue masses.
Why should I consider getting a biopsy?
A biopsy is typically done in order to rule out or identify the presence of cancer. In addition to this, a biopsy can also help identify other conditions that the patient might be experiencing. Usually, medical examinations precipitate the need for a biopsy. A mammogram showing a mass or lump, for example, could be indicative of breast cancer and will require a biopsy. A biopsy could also be ordered if the patient has moles on the skin the change shape and color, suspect of possible melanoma. For some cases, a biopsy may be done on normal tissue to check if a certain type of cancer has spread, or to identify whether the body is rejecting a transplanted organ.
What should I expect from a biopsy procedure?
Procedures on conducting a biopsy will differ according to the degree of difficulty it will take to obtain the tissue sample, or invasiveness. Minimally invasive biopsy procedures, like those that are performed on the skin, can easily be done in a doctor’s office. This method will require anesthesia to make the procedure painless for the patient. A more invasive procedure will be done in a hospital setting or in a surgical center where a scheduled appointment is needed for the biopsy.
What happens after a biopsy?
Once the tissue sample has been collected, it will be preserved and delivered to a pathologist who will study the sample using a series of tests, and usually under a microscope to identify cellular makeup. Pathologists can potentially come up with a diagnosis of the condition based on the results from these tests.