The Many Benefits of a Biopsy

Posted Thursday, February 7, 2019

Did You Know? The first diagnostic biopsy was performed in Russia in 1875

A Biopsy is Helpful in Diagnosing and Monitoring Many Conditions

The Word “Biopsy” comes from ‘bio’ which means life and ‘psy’ meaning vision

Sometimes, a sample of tissue or cells may need to be examined to help identify an illness or cancer. The removal of tissue or cells for analysis is called a biopsy. The following information has been prepared to provide information on the biopsy process, common conditions for which the procedure is performed and post-procedure expectations.  

01│Indications for a Biopsy

Biopsies are performed to collect a sample of tissue, cells or bone marrow which is then examined under a microscope to identify infection, autoimmune disease, cancer, or for organ donation purposes. It is the only sure way to diagnose most cancers. An abnormal diagnosis could mean:

  • Diagnosis of several forms of cancer
  • Muscle infections
  • Nerve conditions
  • Thyroid disease
  • Lupus

In the event of a cancer diagnosis, a biopsy can indicate presence in the lymph nodes or whether the cancer has spread within a patient’s body. The results of the biopsy can help the physician determine the best form of treatment for the patient. 

02│Types of Biopsies

Most biopsies are performed in an outpatient setting. Depending on the type of biopsy required, there are several ways a biopsy can be performed, including:

  • Needle
  • Aspiration
  • Incisional/Excisional
  • Bone Marrow
  • Punch
  • Skin

03│What to Expect After a Biopsy

After the sample is taken, the medical team will analyze the tissue or cells extracted. Recovery time is generally brief and patients can resume their usual activities in a short period of time. If the results are not shared with the patient immediately, a follow-up appointment will be scheduled. In the case of a positive diagnosis of cancer, the results will indicate the type of cancer and the level of aggression. Treatment options can then be determined. New laboratory techniques can test biopsy samples for other elements such as proteins or genetic variations. This data can be used in making a more specific diagnosis and help determine individualized cancer therapy to fight specific cancers. 

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