A biopsy is a procedure performed to remove a small sample of cells for testing. The cells are examined in a laboratory to check for disease, or sometimes to see how badly a known disease is affecting them. Biopsy can be performed on any part of the body.
Although biopsy is most often associated with cancer, it can also be used to check for other diseases, such as infections. A biopsy sample can be scraped, cut, collected with a needle, taken with a machine that punches out a tiny piece, or removed with the tiny tools in an endoscope.
In most cases, a biopsy is a simple outpatient procedure. Depending on your procedure, you may need to stop taking certain medications beforehand, such as blood thinners. Be certain to tell your doctor if you are pregnant, as certain biopsies require the use of x-rays to guide the needle to the right location. There is usually very little pain associated with a biopsy. You will have to wait a few days to hear the results.