Types of biopsy

The biopsy consists of a process of extracting a sample of tissue from the body in order to study it microscopically and obtain the diagnosis of a disease.

Frequently, this procedure is used to diagnose some type of cancer, but this type of tests can also be used to identify infections, autoimmune and inflammatory disorders or to check the compatibility of tissues before a transplant.

Biopsies can be classified according to the type of tissue to be removed or according to the method used for it. These tests are carried out in multiple areas of the body, the most common being the bone marrow, the abdomen, the kidney … However, there are so many areas where tissue can be extracted, that it is more clarifying to make a presentation of the different methods than they exist today.

  • 1 What are the types of biopsy?
    • 1.1 Endoscopic Biopsy
    • 1.2 Excisional biopsy
    • 1.3 Stereotactic or stereotaxic biopsy
    • 1.4 Incisional Biopsy
    • 1.5 Biopsy by fine needle aspiration (FNA)
    • 1.6 Core needle biopsy
    • 1.7 Biopsy by perforation

What are the types of biopsy?


Endoscopic Biopsy

It is carried out using a device called a fiber optic endoscope.

This practice consists of introducing a thin and elongated tube with a focusing telescope and a light at its end, which is used to observe some organ that may have developed an abnormality.

This device is also equipped with small tweezers that allow the professional to cut small fragments of tissue.

The most common endoscopic biopsies are performed in the esophagus, stomach (gastrointestinal), in the colon (colonoscopy), in the abdominal cavity (laparoscopy) and in the airways (laryngoscopy and bronchoscopy)

Excisional biopsy

Also called excision biopsy. It refers to the complete removal of a part of the body. It is usually performed in the operating room, under general or local anesthesia using a scalpel or scalpel.

It is a type of biopsy that is frequently used when a larger portion of the tissue is needed or when the lesions are small and are located on the surfaces of the skin or an organ.

It is very common to use this technique when the patient has a single node or small tumor, a lesion on the skin that could be malignant and for lesions in the spleen (this organ must be completely removed, since if only a tissue sample is removed , there was a high probability of internal bleeding during the intervention).

Stereotactic or stereotaxic biopsy

It is a technique that relies on various imaging tests obtained with a three-dimensional explorer device that allows locating the exact point where the lesion or tumor that needs to be removed is located.

This facilitates the appropriate coordinates where the doctor must influence. It is frequently performed with tumors in the breasts that cannot be palpable and in the brain.

Incisional Biopsy

The procedure itself is very similar to the previous one, however, in this type of biopsy only one or more representative fragments of the tissue to be analyzed are surgically removed.

It is usually performed more often in soft tissue tumors such as muscles, brain, kidney, liver, lung, etc., in order to distinguish if there is a benign or malignant pathology or because the damaged area is not easily identified .

Fine needle aspiration (FNA) biopsy

It consists of the incision of a small-gauge needle in the plane where the lesion is located, and the subsequent suction of a cellular sample of the tissue to be analyzed.

It is used mainly in organs located in deeper areas (lung, pancreas, liver …).

People who undergo this medical test can be anesthetized locally, but it is not an intrusive test that causes undue discomfort.

The negative aspect of this technique is the complication of preserving the architecture of the tissue that is removed. This means that it is sometimes impossible to establish the malignant potential or invasive capacity of the lesion.

Core needle biopsy

Also called a puncture or tru-cut biopsy. This technique is carried out with a kind of automatic gun that projects a hollow needle in the desired region and allows the extraction of tissue not only made up of its cells, but also by other elements (connective tissue, lymphatic vessels, microcapillaries, etc.) that allow the malignant potential of the lesion to be more accurately established.

Professionals can be guided to perform this test both by palpation and by an imaging technique. On the other hand, patients receive local anesthesia in the area to be studied.

Perforation biopsy

Also called Punch. Characterized by using a hollow cylindrical blade with which samples of the deepest skin layers are taken (the extracted area is colloquially called “apple core”). Patients receive local anesthesia before the physician rotates the implement on the skin, until all surface layers can be pierced.

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