A biopsy is a medical procedure where some tissue is removed, and then examined under a microscope and assessed in a laboratory. Our doctor may organise a biopsy to confirm a suspected diagnosis. Biopsies are used to help determine abnormal cells.
Biopsies identify specific cells for structural and functional problems from problem areas and also used to determine how severe an existing condition is.
The test does not involve any special preparation. However, any blood-thinning medications, blood clotting problems and anaemia should be notified to our doctor. Our doctor will decide if a biopsy is needed to confirm a diagnosis if your medical history is somewhat ambiguous and other procedures have been done i.e. CT, MRI, Ultrasound to give a definitive diagnosis.
All organs of the body, including the skin can be examined for anomalies using biopsies. Some are more invasive than others and need to be carried out in a hospital under strict guidelines and aseptically. We can arrange these privately for you if our doctor or specialist believes this is next step for you.
A hollow needle will be inserted through your skin into the site of the lump to get a sample tissue. The needle is directed to the right place using MRI scans, X-rays or ultrasound scans. A small amount of tissue is then removed. The procedure is typically done together with a local anaesthetic to prevent discomfort or pain. A dull ache might be felt in the area after a sample has been taken. You can take painkillers to address the pain.
The tissue sample is sent to a laboratory for analysis. The sample may be frozen or chemically treated and cut into extremely thin sections, which are put on glass slides and examined under a microscope. A consultant pathologist will then report on the findings.
The result of the test is given after a few days although some cell samples require more time. Our doctor may be able to tell you how long it will take for the test results to arrive.
A local anaesthetic is administered during the procedure for pain relief. If the area is particularly sensitive or difficult to reach and/or if the tissue is dense, you may feel a little more discomfort. The area may also be subject to bruising and swelling after the procedure. If you have ever had an allergic reaction to an anaesthetic before it is important this information is told to the doctor. All allergic reactions need to be taken seriously however minor they may initially appear to be.
Usually a biopsy is recommended to confirm a diagnosis after researching your family’s and your own medical history together with other methods of investigation have been carried out. I.e. CT, MRI, X-Rays. The results of the tissue sample will show the extent of the disease or determine what it is. Once a definitive diagnosis is confirmed treatment can then begin.
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