Tissue Biopsy

Also known as: biopsy.

What is tissue biopsy?

When a sample of tissue is removed from the body in order to analyze it and look for signs of certain diseases, this is known as a tissue biopsy. It’s a common part of the diagnosis of skin lesions and conditions that involve the gastrointestinal tract, but it can also be used to diagnose other medical conditions including cancer.

What happens during the procedure?

Tissue biopsies can be performed in different ways. In some cases, biopsy samples can be gathered using an endoscope, which is a thin flexible tube that’s guided inside the body such as the gastrointestinal tract or respiratory tract. Biopsies of skin lesion may be obtained by excision of a portion of skin. Other biopsy samples can be gathered using a special needle that is inserted through the skin to the location of the biopsy site. In some circumstances a surgical procedure may be required to obtain a biopsy. 

Is any special preparation needed?

For most skin and needle biopsies, no special preparation is needed for this procedure.  However, your doctor will explain what preparation is required in other cases.

What are the risk factors?

Except for surgically obtained biospies, tissue biopsy is a relatively risk-free procedure. Pain, bleeding or infection at the biopsy site are the primary risk factors of the process.


Reviewed by: Steven J. Melnick, PhD, MD

This page was last updated on: 9/12/2018 8:17:57 AM