Biopsies are samples of tissue. These samples are obtained using sterile techniques. The tissue may be removed cutting, scraping, shaving, or aspiration.

The specimen is examined by a pathologist to rule out cancer and establish a diagnosis. Some biopsies are obtained after numbing with a local anesthetic. Some areas cannot be numbed (for example, the lining of the uterus). There is usually mild-moderate discomfort during the procedure, which is very quick in almost all cases. There may be slight bleeding that can be controlled with pressure or small dissolvable sutures.

Infection may be rarely caused by a biopsy procedure, so it’s important to report increasing pain, fever, redness, or hardness of the tissues after a biopsy.

The results of the biopsy and the plan of care should be communicated within one week after the procedure. If results have not been reported within that time frame, the patient should request a call or visit to go over the report.