Home Health A-Z Everything you want to know about a Biopsy

Everything you want to know about a Biopsy

Verified By Dr Chinmaya Kumar Pani June 30, 2021 10090 0

Overgrowth of cells or tissues, whether non-cancerous or cancerous, can cause complications  due to a lack of a descriptive diagnosis. Any kind of overgrowth of cell mass or tissue requires a thorough diagnosis for signs of infection or cancers. Since it’s always better to prevent than cure, if the doctor says you have an unnatural mass, you might be advised to have a biopsy done. 

A doctor must look closer at the cells to identify the issue behind the mass via Biopsy. The surgical procedure involves extracting some tissue as a sample from the affected areas of the body and examining it as a biopsy.

What is the Purpose Of a Biopsy?

Generally, a biopsy is done to detect cancers, but it can also reveal several other issues  in  various organs of the body. When you go to a doctor to get help for any health issue, if the doctor  finds masses inside your body

Similarly, a series of moles might be the reason for melanoma. A biopsy can also be recommended in case a person has chronic hepatitis, and to make sure the cancer isn’t spreading or if a transplanted organ is not matched closely. 

What are the types of biopsies?

There are various that can originate in different areas of the body. Here are the kinds of biopsies performed by medical professionals-

Bone Marrow Biopsy

Blood cells in our body are manufactured inside the bone marrow. So, whenever the doctor discovers anomalies in your blood a bone marrow biopsy is recommended. Bone marrow is extracted for the biopsy purpose to rule out.

A bone marrow biopsy helps in the diagnosis, including some of the most hidden blood cancers like leukemia, lymphoma, and multiple myeloma. Some cancers can also be from a different origin and organ source.

A bone marrow biopsy requires a small sampling. The process is performed using a long needle and is generally performed on the lower spinal column. The biopsy can be done on other bones in the body. Local anesthesia is used on the area where the needle is inserted, to alleviate the pain. This is the most common biopsy for early-stage cancer patients.

Endoscopic Biopsy

An endoscopic biopsy a micro-camera, a light, and a scraping tool. The doctor inserts this tube into the body to lesions. The doctors generally check the colon lining. If an unrecognizable lesion, tumor, or scar is present on the lining, a small tissue sample is scraped out to see cancerous cells.

The tube, or endoscope, can be different orifices. It depends on the type of issue and the affected area to check the lining of your bigger veins or muscles. In the case of thoracic cancers, the tube is inserted nasally or orally to check your lungs and is known as bronchoscopy. Colonoscopy requires the tube to be inserted through the rectum to analyze the lining of the colon of the small intestine. In some cases, where there has to be an incision for inserting the tube, anesthesia is used to numb the area during procedure.

Needle Biopsy

As the name suggests, a needle is used for this kind of biopsy. Doctors use the needle biopsy for the masses that can be felt through the skin, near glands or lymph nodes. Combined with an x-ray, the needle is used to remove tissue from a gland located right beneath the skin. In most cases, the masses appear on the sides of genitals, armpits, near the ears, or close to the throat. There are different kinds of needle biopsies and tools-

  1. Fine Needle Aspiration is used in case the mass is not tough. A fine needle is used to suck out fluid from the mass
  2. Core Needle Biopsy has a thick needle with a cutting tip to take out a part of the lining for examination.
  3. Vacuum-Assisted Biopsy uses a needle with a suction device to a significant amount of fluid from areas that are tough to reach and might need reinsertion.
  4. Image-Guided Biopsy uses x-ray, ultrasound, and MRI, to guide the needle through muscles and delicate tissues.

Skin Biopsy

A cutaneous or skin biopsy is used to remove tissue from the skin in conditions like melanoma and other skin cancers. There are different kinds of skin biopsies. The one you require will depend on the kind of issue you are facing.

  1. Shave Biopsy is used to scrape off the uppermost layer of the skin for examination.
  2. Punch Biopsy requires a pen-like tool to take a small circular sample from the inner layers of your skin via punching.
  3. Incisional Biopsy is for removing some skin by cutting it out. You might receive stitches in case a deep skin incision is to be done.
  4. Excisional Biopsy includes the removal of a whole area of skin that has turned abnormal along with the inner layers.

Surgical Biopsy

Sometimes a mass or be located deep inside the body, and it is difficult to take samples for examination without hurting delicate organs and tissues, like the unreachable parts of the liver, skin. A surgical biopsy includes removing the skin to the abdomen to remove a part of tumors or the whole unrecognized mass. An anesthetic is always used to operate, and the patient must be retained in the health unit for observation.

When should you see a doctor?

The doctor might ask you to get hospitalized if you have had a surgical or cystic biopsy. In cases of skin issues, patients are allowed to leave. Although, if you find something wrong with the biopsy site, or experience post-surgery complications, you must immediately call your doctor and explain the issue. If you’re bleeding from the biopsy site, contact the emergency services of the hospital as soon as possible. Biopsy may cause vomiting and pain, sometimes blood in the excretions.

In case a mass remains unchecked, there are complications. Even if the tumor is not connected to cancer, an unrecognized mass in the body is always a result of some malfunction in the body. If ignored, such masses can cause long term troubles for your health.

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The bottom line

The biopsy ordered by your doctor can save you from a long term illness if you act on time. If the biopsy report shows cancerous cells, the doctor might want to do extensive testing to determine the stage in which the cancer is. An early diagnosis is always better than going through the pain of fighting cancer. You might get relief in a shorter period if the diseases don’t spread too far into the body.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is cancer diagnosed without a biopsy?

A: Some cancers are traceable without a biopsy. Leukemia, for example, can show up in blood cultures and no tissue removal is necessary. Another form of cancer called lymphoma has can show up on MRIs and CT scans. Lung cancers can also be traced through x-rays rather than bronchoscopy but should always be detected in the very first stage if possible.

Are Autopsy and Biopsy the same thing?

A: No. An autopsy is a post-mortem of a dead person. A biopsy is tissue removal so that the other cells can be kept functioning and alive.

Does scraping off tissues during a biopsy spread cancer?

A: But biopsies performed by experts are done with precaution. Most open wounds are cauterized or closed. A biopsy is nothing to be scared of. It is essential in saving your life.

Verified By Dr Chinmaya Kumar Pani
M.D. (Peadiatrics),D.M. (Medical Oncology)JIPMER, ECMO 2015-2020, Senior Consultant - Medical Oncology, Apollo Hospitals Bhubanswar

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