Cancer Treatment Centers of America

Biopsy for brain cancer

Biopsy / surgical resection for brain cancer

Whenever possible, a full surgical resection of the cancerous tissue is performed. If such a resection threatens neurological function, then a lesser resection, or simple biopsy, is performed.

A biopsy for brain cancer involves the removal of a small amount of the cancerous tissue from the brain. This helps us evaluate the tumor to plan your brain cancer treatment. A needle biopsy may be performed for tumors in difficult-to-reach or critical areas of the brain.

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. 

Some biopsies are performed under image guidance, such as ultrasound, computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in the radiology suite. In some cases, biopsies are performed in the operating suite. 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 reduce discomfort.

Compared with other diagnostic tests for cancer, biopsies often provide a more definitive diagnosis. A biopsy may help determine whether the cancer began at the site of the biopsy sample, or if it started somewhere else in the body.

Some sites that are commonly biopsied include the breast, skin, bone marrow, GI tract, lung, liver, bladder, colon and lymph nodes. Our doctors determine the most appropriate method of biopsy based on several factors, such as the size, shape, location, and characteristics of the abnormality.

Biopsy medical animation