4 Types of Biopsy Procedures

 Photo by: Bigstockphoto

Photo by: Bigstockphoto

A biopsy is an examination of removed tissues from a living patient to assess the cause or the extent of a certain disease. There are four different types of biopsy procedure and the kind of procedure your doctor will use depends on the areas of the body where tumors grew, the size of the tumors and other factors. In today’s post, we are discussing the different types of biopsy procedures and what to expect during the tests:

Fine Needle Aspiration Biopsy or FNAB

This procedure requires a thin needle to be inserted into the suspicious area to get a small sample of tissue. Usually, your doctor will feel the lump or suspicious growth and guides the needle into the area for extraction. Your doctor may or may not use a numbing agent to reduce pain during the extraction.

The tissue sample is then analyzed under a microscope to determine the procession of the disease. In some cases, body fluid near the affected area is also analyzed. Cloudy or benign fluid could mean a non-cancerous growth, but it’s also analyzed further for cancer cells.

Core Needle Biopsy or CNB

This procedure is similar to FNAB except the needle inserted is slightly larger, hollower. Your doctor will use ultrasound or x-rays to guide the needle on the right spot.

The needle is larger because it’ meant to extract more tissue samples and requires local anesthesia. Also, the needle is inserted several times to get more samples. Because the procedure is lengthy, the results are more accurate. This procedure can cause minor bruising and cuts, but it won’t cause scarring.

Vacuum-Assisted Core Biopsy or VACB

VACB is conducted using Mammotome® or ATEC® (Automated Tissue Excision and Collection machine) to extract the tissue sample. The process is lengthier and requires local anesthetic. A numbing agent is applied on the affected area then your doctor will make a small cut. A hollow probe is inserted into the cut and guided into the abnormal growth using an MRI, an ultrasound or x-ray.

The probe pulls out a cylinder of tissue and a rotating knife will cut the tissue. Stitches are not needed after extraction, but VACB can cause slight scarring.

Surgical Biopsy

Also known as open biopsy, a surgical biopsy requires the extraction of tissues through surgery. There are two types of open biopsy: incisional and excisional.

Incisional biopsy requires the extraction of a small part of the suspicious growth. Excisional biopsy requires the removal of the entire abnormal growth without trying to remove an edge of healthy tissues.

A general anesthesia is administered to the patient and an incision is made. Depending on the accessibility of the abnormal tissue, the surgeon could use a guided needle to extract the growth. A stereotactic core needle is guided by an x-ray equipment and a computer to pinpoint the exact location of the abnormal growth. From there, the needle tip will travel to the affected area. This procedure is not only lengthy and complex; it also requires stitches and will leave a scar.


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