What Is a Biopsy?

Biopsies at Washington Township Medical Foundation

If your internist at Washington Township Medical Foundation has ordered a biopsy, you may have questions about this term and what to expect during the procedure. On this page, we attempt to answer your potential questions about biopsies. Ask your doctor if you have any further questions.

Biopsy Procedure: What to Expect

A biopsy is a type of test that your doctor may order after another test reveals an abnormality in some tissue in the body.

This tissue may be referred to by your physician as a:

  • Mass
  • Tumor
  • Lesion

Examples of cases where a biopsy might be called for include a lump or mass found in the breast after a mammogram, a questionable mole on the skin that could suggest melanoma, or in cases where the patient has hepatitis and the doctor wishes to check for cirrhosis or scarring of the liver.

Types of biopsies include:

  • CT-guided biopsies
  • Needle biopsies
  • Bone biopsies
  • Bone marrow biopsies
  • Ultrasound-guided biopsies
  • Aspiration biopsies
  • Skin biopsies
  • Surgical biopsies
  • And more

In almost all cases, your doctor will apply numbing medication and then use a sharp tool to collect the sample. The invasiveness of the procedure will depend on the type of sample needed. In some cases, the procedure will be conducted in your doctor’s office; others may require a hospital setting. Be sure to ask your doctor any questions you may have about this process.