We have several methods of conducting biopsies, depending on your specific medical condition. If your physician suspects cancer in your blood or bone marrow, you may have a bone marrow biopsy, which involves taking a sample of bone marrow from the back of your hip using a long needle. You will receive a local anesthetic to minimize discomfort.
An endoscopic biopsy uses a tube that can be inserted in your mouth, rectum, urinary tract or a small incision in your skin, depending on your medical needs. Endoscopic biopsies called cystoscopies can retrieve tissue from your bladder. Bronchoscopies get tissue from your lung. Physicians can collect tissue from your colon with a colonoscopy or from your esophagus with an endoscopy.
There are several forms of needle biopsies. Fine-needle aspirations use a syringe to draw fluid and cells for analysis. A core needle biopsy uses a needle with a cutting tip to remove a column of tissue. Vacuum-assisted biopsy incorporates a suction device, and an image-guided biopsy combines an imaging procedure with a needle biopsy. This is especially helpful in suspicious areas that can’t be felt through the skin, such as in your liver, lung or prostate.
A skin biopsy is often used to diagnose skin cancer. Your physician can scrape the skin to remove tissue or perform surgery to remove a larger piece. Surgical biopsies are also used when other methods are not adequate, such as for breast cancer analysis or to remove and analyze a lymph node.