A biopsy is a procedure performed to take a small part of tissue or a group of cells out of the body to be tested in a laboratory. If a person faces any unusual marks or changes in the body that are not identified by normal tests, a biopsy test is recommended.
A biopsy is one of the tests that are done to examine the internal activity of the body. The healthcare service provider removes a few samples of fluid, tissue, or cells, from the body and sends it to a pathologist to examine the same.
Apart from a pathologist, a biopsy can also be performed by a surgeon, radiologist, gastroenterologist, oncologist, dermatologist, gynecologist, and cytologist. Some biopsies can also be done by physician assistants.
Biopsy helps diagnose various medical conditions like infections, inflammatory and immune disorders, endometriosis, and peptic ulcer disease other than cancer. The way of applying the procedure depends on its type and the body part suffered.
When a test is done and the results show an abnormal change in the tested tissue or cells, that calls for the biopsy test. The simplest example can be a mole on the skin that has changed its shape lately.
Below are the normal symptoms that may ask for a biopsy.
- Abnormal weight change,
- Changes in skin (colour or any mark),
- Consistent cough or breathing issues,
- Any change in bowel habits,
- Difficulty in making some sounds while speaking,
- Difficulty in swallowing,
- Suspicious bleeding,
- Consistent unexplained indigestion, muscle pain, or fever, or
- Any kind of discomfort.
There are various types of biopsies done in different ways, the major ones are mentioned below-
- Needle biopsy (to extract fluid, cells, or tissue in case of an unusual lump).
- Bone marrow biopsy (a special biopsy syringe and needle are used to take out the sample to diagnose blood cancers and other related disorders).
- Incisional and excisional biopsies (incisions are made on the body and tissue samples are taken from suspicious areas; the entire lump is removed in the case of excisional one though).
- Cone biopsy (done on the cervix, and hence, treats cervical cancer).
- Liquid biopsy (detects blood cancer).
- Shave biopsy (a razor is used to take out scrape-out skin to detect skin cancer).
- Punch biopsy (a hole is punched in the skin by using a certain device).
- Sentinel node biopsy (done to check the spread of cancer cells).
- Image-guided biopsy (imaging equipment is used to help in taking the sample).
- Endoscopic biopsy (a thin, flexible, and light tube that comes with a camera that is used to see inside the body).
- Laparoscopic biopsy (similar to endoscopic biopsy but for certain areas like the abdomen or pelvis).
The sample taken from biopsy helps in knowing what causes the mass, lump, infection, or inflammation. Doing this may cause bleeding or infection in the specific area.
The patient may also feel mild pain at or near the place where the needle was inserted. This is lowered by the painkiller tablets prescribed by the doctor.
If you have a fever, unbearable pain, unstoppable bleeding, or swelling in the biopsied area, inform your doctor then and there.