In medicine, a biopsy describes the removal of tissue samples. There are different ways of performing biopsies. One method is to insert a hollow needle or puncture needle into the surface of the skin and puncture defined organs. Another method requires a surgical or endoscopic procedure. Doctors usually use imaging techniques such as ultrasound, computer tomography or magnetic resonance imaging to assist in the procedure. Histological, laboratory chemical or cytological analyses are carried out after the tissue has been removed. In this context, the tissue removed is called a biopsy. A further distinction is made between open and closed biopsies.
Before a biopsy is performed, the skin is disinfected and the patient is locally anaesthetised. Biopsies are usually not painful. Possible complications of such procedures are infections and bleeding or bruising at the sampling site. In addition, adjacent tissue structures can be injured. A biopsy is usually performed on suspicion of tumours or cancer. This is due to altered tissue structures. Depending on the type and stage of the tissue changes, it is sometimes difficult to take a precise piece of the changed area.