Biopsy

A biopsy is the removal of a sample of tissue or cells. A doctor will examine the sample under a microscope. A biopsy may be taken from any part of the body.

  • Call Your Doctor

    Contact your doctor if any of the following occur:

    • Redness, swelling, increasing pain, excessive bleeding, or discharge from the biopsy site
    • Signs of infection, including fever and chills
    • Pain that you cannot control with the medication you have been given
    • New or worsening symptoms

    If you think you have an emergency, call for medical help right away.

  • Definition

    A biopsy is the removal of a sample of tissue or cells. A doctor will examine the sample under a microscope.

    A biopsy may be taken from any part of the body.

  • What to Expect

  • Reasons for Procedure

    A biopsy is used to see if the cells from a sample of tissue are abnormal. A biopsy is done to rule out cancer and/or to specify its type and level of aggressiveness.

    Biopsies are sometimes taken to find out the cause of an unexplained:

    • Infection
    • Swelling
    • Growth

    Common interpretations of biopsies include:

    • Normal tissue, no abnormalities
    • Irritated tissue
    • Not normal, but difficult to interpret
    • Not normal, not cancerous, but a precancerous condition
    • Cancer
    • Inconclusive

  • Possible Complications

    Problems from the procedure are rare, but all procedures have some risk. Your doctor will review potential problems, like:

    • Excessive bleeding
    • Pain
    • Infection
    • Scarring
    • Results that are difficult to interpret

    Smoking
    may increase the risk of complications.

    Be sure to discuss these risks with your doctor before the surgery.