A biopsy is a medical procedure that involves taking a small samples of body tissue so it can be examined under the microscope.
A tissue sample can be taken from almost anywhere on or in your body, including the skin, organs and other structures.
A biopsy can be used to investigate abnormalities, which can be:
- functional – such as kidney or liver problems
- structural – such as swelling in a particular organ
types of biopsy
- needle biopsy. A special hollow needle guided by X-ray, ultrasound, CT scan and MRI, is used to obtain tissue from an organ or from tissue underneath the skin.
- Endoscopic biopsy. An endoscope is used to remove tissue, such as from the stomach during a gastroscopy
- Preoperative biopsy. If consent has been given, a perioperative biopsy can be carried out during surgery; in certain circumstances, the sample may be tested straightaway to help guide the surgery or further treatment
Most biopsies will only require local aesthetic, which means you won’t need to stay in hospital overnight. You may experience a dull ache, which can be treated with painkillers on the advice of your doctor or surgeon.
Some types of biopsy may involve staying in hospital for a few hours.