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A biopsy is the removal of a sample of tissue or cells. A pathologist examines the sample under a microscope.
A biopsy may be taken from any part of the body.
A biopsy is used to see if the cells from a sample of tissue are abnormal. Often, a biopsy is done to rule out cancer and/or to specify its type and level of aggressiveness.
Biopsies are sometimes taken to find out the cause of an unexplained:
Common interpretations of biopsies include:
- Normal tissue, no abnormalities
- Irritated tissue
- Not normal, but difficult to interpret
- Not normal, not cancerous, but a precancerous condition
Complications are rare, but no procedure is completely free of risk. If you are planning to have a biopsy, your doctor will review a list of possible complications, which may include:
- Results that are difficult to interpret
Be sure to discuss these risks with your doctor before the surgery.
Call Your Doctor
After you leave the hospital, contact your doctor if any of the following occurs:
- Redness, swelling, increasing pain, excessive bleeding, or discharge from the biopsy site
- Signs of infection, including fever and chills
- Pain that you cannot control with the medicines you have been given
- Any new symptoms
In case of an emergency, call 911.