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Biopsy for bone cancer

What is a biopsy?

During a biopsy, a doctor removes a sample of tissue or fluid from the body. A pathologist inspects the cells under a microscope to see if they are cancerous. If the cells are found to be cancerous, a biopsy can help determine whether the cancer began at the site of the biopsy, or if it started somewhere else in the body and spread to the biopsy site.

Some biopsies are performed under image guidance, such as ultrasound, computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). This allows your doctor to collect cells from deeper inside the body. Depending on the type of biopsy performed, you will receive an anesthetic to minimize any pain.

Biopsy medical animation

Video: Biopsy Medical Animation

Medical animation

Biopsy for bone cancer

Two biopsy techniques used for bone cancer detection include:

  • Needle biopsy: For this type of biopsy, your doctor will numb the area with a local anesthetic before inserting a needle into the suspected site to get a sample of cells. In some cases, a CT scan may be used to help guide the needle.
  • Surgical biopsy: This type of biopsy is generally performed under general anesthesia by a surgeon, who will remove a sample of the tissue (incisional biopsy) or the whole tumor (excisional biopsy).
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