In biopsy procedures, a piece of tissue or sample of cells are taken from you body for analysis in a laboratory. The biopsy can determine the presence of cancer, and identify types of cancer and other conditions. Biopsy can be done in conjunction with other tests, such as x-rays, to detect masses, and abnormalities. A biopsy helps your physician determine whether these abnormalities are caused by cancerous or non-cancerous cells.

Depending on the type of biopsy that is being done, you may be given a local anesthetic to numb the skin on the area where the tissue will be obtained, or be given a general anesthetic which will allow you to be totally sedated during the procedure. Your doctor will discuss the method which is best for you based on your condition.


The following are some of the types of biopsies that may be performed:

Bone Marrow Aspiration
The procedure known as bone marrow or bone marrow aspiration is the withdrawal of the blood-forming portion of the inner core of bone. This sample is taken for laboratory testing or for transplantation. The procedure involves inserting a special needle into a bone and obtaining marrow by suction or coring it out.

Read more about the Bone Marrow Procedure here.

Endoscopic Biopsy
During endoscopy, you may or may not receive an anesthetic or sedative. The doctor uses a thin, flexible tube with a light on the end to see structures inside your body. Depending on what part of the body is being analyzed, the tube can be inserted through the mouth, rectum urinary tract or a small incision in your skin. Special tools are passed through the tube to take a small sample of tissue to be analyzed.

Needle Biopsy
To collect cells from an area on your body that required penetration of skin, a special needle can be used. These needles are hollow and can be used with a syringe to suction out material, or as a coring instrument that can collect cells by coring.