FIVE biopsy processes you should know explain what biopsy means, how it’s done, and the basic self-care needed after the procedure. The 5 biopsy processes you should know are not meant to scare you. But to provide more preventive actions against bigger health risks.
What Is A Biopsy?
A biopsy is a test to identify signs of diseases by taking a small sample of tissue or cells from an area of cancer or other health issues. Thereafter the sample is sent to a pathologist to check for harmful cells to your health. But before your biopsy, your doctor will advise things you need to do or stop doing. For instance, you may need to stop taking certain drugs or fast for a few hours before the biopsy.
There are some biopsies your doctor can test the sample immediately for quick results. On the other hand, some results take longer like a day or two, and others take a few days longer. In the end, the lab will dispatch the results to your doctor who will then discuss the results with you.
Breast or Testicles Biopsy
The first set of the 5 biopsy processes you should know are breasts, testicles, lymph nodes, or thyroid glands. In this type of biopsy, your doctor takes a bit of tissue using a needle from the likely problem area.
This procedure is usually done in a clinic or office and takes less than an hour. The affected area is cleaned and numbed. And using an ultrasound or other type of imaging scan, guide the needle to the spot to draw out the tissue. Once done, the needle spot is covered with a bandage. The soreness or bruise remains for a while.
Skin Growths Biopsy
This procedure tests moles, growths, rashes, or lesions on your skin. Most times it’s used to check for skin cancers like melanoma. Your doctor will shave off a tiny sample with a razor if the area is just on the surface of your skin. Otherwise deeper growths may need a procedure called a punch biopsy. This involves your doctor using a round tool to remove a sample for testing.
And then the area will be cleaned and numbed with medicine. It’s very likely you feel a pinch or burning sensation from that. But you won’t feel anything with the biopsy itself. The area may be red but won’t hurt. In order to keep the skin moist and prevent a scar or infection, you can rub ointment on the area. Nonetheless, it should heal within 3 weeks.
It’s important to note that these procedures are mostly for areas that involve the skin. An excisional biopsy takes a whole polyp or a large area of skin. While an incisional biopsy takes a deep but smaller area of skin. For instance, if your doctor thinks you have melanoma, the whole skin tumour can be taken out with an excisional biopsy. Though an incisional biopsy would take out only part of a tumour.
So, depending on where the area is and its size, your doctor will either numb it. Or give you medicine to make you sleepy. And then use a small, sharp knife to take a sample of tissue. It’s possible you get stitched up afterwards. You may also feel a little pain or see small bleeding after the medicine wears off. However, if the pain is bad or bleeds than normal, see your doctor right away.
Colon, Bladder or Lung Biopsy
For samples of tissue from your colon, bladder or lung, your doctor uses a long, thin tube that has a light and camera at the end called an endoscope. This instrument is used to get to those areas deep inside your body. The biopsy is done at your doctor’s office or in a hospital.
The process involves your doctor giving you medicine to make you sleepy, then inserting an endoscope through your mouth, rectum, or urinary tract or through a small cut in your skin. The purpose of the camera is to guide the doctor to the tissue being tested. It’s usually a very safe procedure, again there’s a small risk of tissue tears, infection, or bleeding.
Bone Marrow Biopsy
Blood diseases and cancers like lymphoma or myeloma can leave signs in your bone marrow. Hence, your doctor can use a long needle to take a small sample of bone marrow or bone to be looked at under a microscope. The affected area will be numbed, but you may still feel a little discomfort during the procedure.
Tumour Lump or Lymph Node Biopsy
If your doctor needs to take out a large area of tissue, tumour, lump, or lymph node to be tested, this is done as surgery in a hospital. You will be given medicine to make you sleep through the procedure. In some cases, your doctor may make only a tiny cut. Thereafter use a tube with a camera on the end to guide him to the right area. That type of surgical biopsy is called a laparoscopic biopsy.
On a Final Note
The downside of a biopsy is the slight soreness and discomfort in the affected area for a couple of days or more. However, your doctor can give you pain relief medicine if you require it. So try to relax the next day after your biopsy. And adhere to your doctor’s advice on when to take the bandage off, including other ways to take care of the affected area.