A biopsy is a medical procedure in which a small tissue sample is removed to be analyzed for disease. The sample is evaluated under a microscope by a specialized doctor called a pathologist. It can be taken from any area in the body, externally or internally, including the skin, organs, and bones.
How Do You Know If You Need A Biopsy?
If you’re experiencing unusual symptoms, or if your doctor suspects something is wrong, they may use a biopsy to identify the issue. By analyzing a tissue sample under a microscope, abnormal cells can be detected, and the related conditions can be identified.
Conversely, if a disease has already been identified, its severity can be determined with a biopsy.
Types Of Biopsies
Biopsies are usually performed in about an hour. They include:
These biopsies are used for abnormalities that can be felt by hand, such as swollen lymph nodes. Needle biopsies include fine needle biopsies, core needle biopsies, vacuum-assisted biopsies, and image-guided biopsies.
Cells are removed from your skin’s surface during a skin biopsy. Skin biopsies include punch biopsies, shave biopsies, incisional biopsies, and excisional biopsies.
For gastrointestinal issues, an endoscopic biopsy is performed.
A tiny camera attached to a tube (endoscope) is inserted in the mouth, rectum, urethra, nose, or a small incision during this procedure. This way, your doctor can see the area in question and collect a cell sample.
Your gastroenterologist might order endoscopic biopsy if you have symptoms like:
- Continual, or moderate to severe abdominal discomfort.
- Appetite decline.
- Unintentional weight loss.
Additionally, biopsies may be ordered if you experience bleeding somewhere in your digestive system.
How To Prepare For A Biopsy
Your doctor may tell you not to consume solid food six hours before the biopsy. You may be instructed to stop taking blood thinners such as aspirin several days before the procedure and stop taking specific supplements and medications.
If you have diabetes, your doctor will let you know if you need to change your insulin dosages for the biopsy. You should also inform your doctor about any allergies you have.
You will receive a complete set of instructions that outline the steps you need to take before your biopsy.
During The Biopsy
Before the procedure is started, you will need to remove loose-fitting dental work like dentures or other hardware.
Before insertion, a nurse will give you pain-alleviating medications, a calming agent, and a mouth protector. The mouth guard is used to protect your mouth, teeth, and the endoscope from damage.
An anesthetic may be applied to your oral cavity and throat to prevent gagging and coughing once the endoscope is gradually lowered down your alimentary canal. When all the preceding steps are completed, you will lie on your side, and the process starts.
As the device descends, small concentrations of air will be pumped into the areas in question. This slightly enlarges surrounding tissues enough to enable the examining physician to gain a better view.
Should your doctor identify any concerning areas, they will collect tissue samples.
Typically, endoscopies last anywhere from five to 30 minutes.
What Should I Do After I Go Home?
It’s important to follow aftercare instructions when you get home. These can include:
- Don’t smoke.
- Rest and don’t do anything strenuous.
- Eat foods you usually would.
- Don’t shower or bathe.
- Don’t operate any type of motor vehicle.
- Stay hydrated.
What Happens To A Biopsy In The Lab?
After it’s removed, a biopsy sample is typically placed in a preservative solution of formaldehyde and water. Then, it’s transported to a lab, where a pathologist visually examines it. This procedure is done to analyze characteristics such as the sample’s size and color.
Next, it is placed in a hot paraffin wax mold. After the mold solidifies, it’s cut into thin sections and examined with a microscope. This technique provides a more in-depth view of the cell’s form.
Obtaining Your Biopsy Report
A pathologist will prepare a report summarizing their biopsy diagnosis. It should be ready in about five days. Your doctor will review the results with you. The report’s technical language may daunt you, so your doctor will help you understand it.
A pathology report includes:
A Description of the Sample
Also known as the gross description, it explains the overall sample. This could include its texture and color, or the number of slides used.
A Description of the Cells
This part of the pathology report describes the information gleaned when the sample was examined under a microscope. It may include a description of the dyes used to give the sample a sharper image. This section of the report explains how many abnormal cells were present and what type they were.
The pathologist’s diagnosis is included in this part of the report and what the next course of action should be if they see a need for one.
Biopsies are crucial for detecting abnormalities that aren’t visible to the naked eye. They can help determine if something is wrong and what caused it. At Gastro MD, our highly-skilled, board-certified physicians are committed to performing your biopsy in a caring and professional environment.
Contact us today! The team of professionals at GastroMD looks forward to working with you. We are one of the leading gastroenterology practices in the Tampa Bay area. We perform a host of diagnostic procedures using state-of-the-art equipment in a friendly, comfortable, and inviting atmosphere where patient care is always a top priority!