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Biopsy

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KEY POINTS

  • A biopsy is the removal of a small sample of tissue for testing to help diagnose infections, cancer, and other diseases.
  • Follow your child’s healthcare provider’s instructions before the procedure about eating, drinking, and taking medicines.
  • Ask your child’s healthcare provider how and when you will get your child’s test results and how to take care of your child at home.

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What is a biopsy?

A biopsy is the removal of a small sample of tissue for testing. After tissue is removed, it is sent to a lab where it is examined under a microscope or tested. Biopsies help diagnose infections, cancer, and other diseases. The type of biopsy your child has depends on the part of the body and tissue needed.

Common types of biopsies are:

  • Bone marrow biopsy. A bone marrow biopsy is the removal of tissue from the center of your child’s bone. It may be done to look for bone problems and for some cancers of the blood, such as leukemia. This type of biopsy is done with a thin, hollow needle put through the skin and into the bone. Bone marrow is usually taken from your child’s breastbone or hipbone just below your child’s waist.
  • Endoscopic biopsy, including laparoscopic biopsy. An endoscopic biopsy is the removal of a sample of tissue from your child’s digestive system, lungs, bladder, or other organs. This type of biopsy is done with a small, lighted tube passed into the body through your child’s mouth, rectum, or bladder. Laparoscopic biopsy uses a small, lighted tube put into the belly through small cuts to look at the organs and tissues inside the belly.
  • Skin biopsy. A skin biopsy is the removal of a piece of skin with different types of sharp tools. Your child may need stitches to close the skin if a large area is biopsied.
  • Needle biopsy. A needle biopsy is the removal of a small piece of tissue from your child’s body with a needle. This method may be used, for example, for a kidney or liver biopsy. This type of biopsy is done with a thin, hollow needle put through your child’s skin into your child’s body. X-rays, CT scan, MRI, or ultrasound may be used to put the needle in exactly the right place. A core biopsy is a type of needle biopsy that uses a larger needle to remove a solid piece of tissue.
  • Surgical biopsy. A surgical biopsy is the removal of a sample of tissue from a part of your child’s body. There are two main types of surgical biopsy:
    • An incisional biopsy, which is a cut through the skin to remove a small piece of tissue
    • An excisional biopsy, which is a cut through the skin to remove all of the tissue

Your child will be given medicine called anesthesia to keep her from feeling pain. Depending on the area where the biopsy is done, your child may have local, regional, or general anesthesia.

  • Local anesthesia numbs only the part of your child’s body where she will have the biopsy.
  • Regional anesthesia numbs a larger area of your child’s body. Depending on the medicine, your child may be awake or asleep during the procedure.
  • General anesthesia relaxes your child’s muscles and puts her into a deep sleep.

How do I prepare my child for this procedure?

  • Your child may or may not need to take her regular medicines the day of the procedure. Tell the healthcare provider about all medicines and supplements that your child takes. Some products may increase the risk of side effects. Ask the healthcare provider if your child needs to avoid taking any medicine or supplements before the procedure.
  • Tell the healthcare provider if your child has any food, medicine, or other allergies such as latex.
  • Your child’s provider will tell you when your child needs to stop eating and drinking before the procedure. This helps to keep your child from vomiting during the procedure.
  • Tell your child’s provider if your child has an infection, like a cold.
  • Follow any other instructions your child’s healthcare provider may give you.
  • Ask any questions you have before the procedure. You should understand what your child’s provider is going to do. You have the right to make decisions about your child’s healthcare and to give permission for any tests or procedures.

What happens after the procedure?

Follow your child’s healthcare provider's instructions. Ask the provider:

  • How and when you will get your child’s test results
  • How long it will take for your child to recover
  • If there are activities your child should avoid and when your child can return to normal activities
  • How to take care of your child at home
  • What symptoms or problems you should watch for and what to do if your child has them

Make sure you know when your child should come back for a checkup. Keep all appointments for provider visits or tests.

What are the risks of this procedure?

Every procedure or treatment has risks. Some possible risks of this procedure include:

  • Your child may have problems with anesthesia.
  • Your child may have an infection or bleeding.
  • Other parts of your child’s body may be injured during the procedure.

Ask your child’s healthcare provider how the risks apply to your child. Be sure to discuss any other questions or concerns that you may have.

Developed by Change Healthcare.
Pediatric Advisor 2019.4 published by Change Healthcare.
Last modified: 2018-07-25
Last reviewed: 2017-12-21
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
© 2018 Change Healthcare LLC and/or one of its subsidiaries
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