by Cynthia M. Johnson, MA
A biopsy is a test of tissue from the body. A lab will check the sample to look for signs of change or disease.
Reasons for Procedure
This test is done to look for the cause of:
It may also be done to find out if there is cancer or to help diagnose:
Problems are rare, but all procedures have some risk. The doctor will go over some problems that could happen, such as
Smoking may raise the risk of problems.
What to Expect
Prior to Procedure
The biopsy team may meet with you to talk about:
The doctor may give:
Description of the Procedure
There are many ways to do a biopsy, such as:
How Long Will It Take?
A simple biopsy will only take a few minutes. It will take longer during a surgery.
Will It Hurt?
Pain and swelling are common in the first few days. Medicine and home care can help.
Average Hospital Stay
You will be able to go home after a simple biopsy. If you had surgery, you may need to stay for 1 to 2 days.
At the Care Center
The staff may give you pain medicines after the biopsy.
Recovery will depend on the location of the biopsy and how much was taken. It may take 2 to 10 days to get the results. Your doctor will share the results with you.
Call Your Doctor
Call the doctor if you are not getting better or you have:
If you think you have an emergency, call for medical help right away.
American Cancer Society
American College of Surgeons
Canadian Cancer Society
Biopsies—overview. Radiology Info—Radiological Society of North America website. Available at: https://www.radiologyinfo.org/en/info.cfm?pg=biopgen. Accessed September 15, 2020.
Biopsy. Cancer.Net website. Available at: https://www.cancer.net/navigating-cancer-care/diagnosing-cancer/tests-and-procedures/biopsy. Accessed September 15, 2020.
Last reviewed March 2021 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Shawna Grubb, RN
Last Updated: 3/23/2021
EBSCO Information Services is fully accredited by URAC. URAC is an independent, nonprofit health care accrediting organization dedicated to promoting health care quality through accreditation, certification and commendation.
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
To send comments or feedback to our Editorial Team regarding the content please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our Health Library Support team will respond to your email request within 2 business days.
All rights reserved.