Biopsy is a procedure wherein cells or tissues from an organ or other parts of the body are removed for examination under a microscope by a pathologist. It is done to diagnose or evaluate prognosis of a disease. In majority of cancers, a definitive diagnosis is done using a biopsy. It can also determine the type of cancer and define whether a lesion is benign or malignant. Biopsies can also help identify certain infections and autoimmune disorders. There are different types of biopsy procedures. In an incisional biopsy only a sample of tissue is removed. An entire lump or suspicious lesion is removed in excisional biopsy. Needle aspiration biopsy involves the usage of a needle to remove a sample of tissue or fluid. In core needle biopsy a needle with a special tip is used to draw a sample of tissue. When a thin needle is used to draw out fluid and cells for analysis, the procedure is called a fine-needle aspiration biopsy.
Biopsies may be performed on organs like breast, bone marrow, skin, lymph nodes, liver, prostate, kidneys, lung, muscles, nerves, etc. A bone marrow biopsy is commonly used to diagnose bone infections, bone cancer and a variety of blood problems like leukaemia, lymphoma and multiple myeloma. A lymph node biopsy in acute leukaemia establishes how far the leukaemia has spread. Biopsy is the only definitive method of diagnosing oral cancer.
Pain, internal bleeding, infection and accidental injury to an adjacent organ are some of the risks that may be associated with a biopsy procedure.