ABC Medical Center > Biopsies

What is Biopsies?

21:59 - 4 May , 2021

Medical procedure



It is a procedure that consists of extracting a sample of tissue from the body to analyze it and determine if there is any pathology. The excised samples can be obtained by needles or by surgical means to remove a part of a lump or malformation.

Needle biopsies are usually performed on an outpatient basis and require practically no prior preparation, but if it is a more complex biopsy, you should discuss with your doctor the type of medication you take, allergies, and avoid taking aspirin or blood thinners. You’ll also need to fast for at least eight hours before the procedure.

Currently, it is common to use imaging technology to guide the taking of samples and access the place that is required with precision, which is why X-rays, ultrasound, MRI, and tomography are used. 

Biopsy is a fundamental procedure to:

  • Cancer detection: thanks to the analysis of the extracted tissue it is possible to determine if the nodule is malignant or not.
  • Diagnose infections.
  • Identify autoimmune and inflammatory diseases.
  • Compatibility test for patients who will receive a transplant.  

Most common types of biopsies:

  • Endometrial: to find possible causes of bleeding in the uterus.
  • Renal: to clarify the kidneys’ state or the cause of the existing damage. In addition, it is used to observe the possibilities of transplant rejection.
  • Abdominal: to test if a lump is malignant. 
  • Bone: used to diagnose infections or bone cancer.
  • Bone marrow: diagnostic tool for leukemia. 
  • Breast: when it is necessary to analyze a lump in the breast and determine if there is cancer. 
  • Lymphatic: it is performed if swollen lymph nodes appear. 
  • Muscle: it is very useful to identify muscle infections or vascular conditions. 
  • Nervous: the degree of nerve involvement can be observed through a small sample.
  • Cutaneous: auxiliary in the detection of skin cancer.
  • Testicular: its use is determined for cases of infertility or suspicion of testicular cancer. 
  • Thyroid: it is useful to analyze nodules in the thyroid gland and its origin.
  • Hepatic: used in the diagnosis of cancer, hepatitis C, cirrhosis, and infections. It is also used to find signs of transplant rejection. 
  • Pulmonary: a biopsy is obtained by means of bronchoscopy when malformations have been observed in an imaging test and it is necessary to clarify their type. 

The technique indicated for each biopsy depends on how accessible is the place from which the sample is to be obtained, but needles are generally used, since they are minimally invasive and the procedure is outpatient. But if a biopsy of a hard-to-reach area is required, a surgery in a hospital will be necessary to obtain the biopsy.

You will only feel a little discomfort when you have a needle biopsy, but in a surgical biopsy, be it open or minimally invasive, the use of anesthetics will be necessary.

At the end of the procedure, the pain will remain for a few days at the place where the biopsy was taken, so you will be prescribed painkillers to reduce the pain. 

Potential risks:

  • Infections.
  • Bleeding.
  • Damage to surrounding organs of the biopsy area. 

Our Clinical Laboratory offers a service integrated by a multidisciplinary group of health professionals that support clinical diagnosis, whose purpose is to provide the tools that allow the doctor to integrate the information to study, prevent, diagnose, and provide the best treatment. 

Related centers and departments:


  • Navari GF, Ortíz IMC, Zúñiga LDS. Técnicas de marcaje con guía ultrasonográfica y mastográfica previas a la obtención de biopsia de mama por escisión. Ginecol Obstet Mex. 2009;77(06):261-269.
  • Vargas-Vallejo MP, Álvarez-Solís RM, Juárez-Quintal M, et al. Factores clínicos predictores de malignidad en biopsia de ganglios cervicales en pediatría. Rev Med Inst Mex Seguro Soc. 2007;45(4):389-394.
  • Flores TJE, Varela HPE, Hernández LJM, et al. Biopsias de próstata en pacientes de más de 80 años. ¿Vale la pena?. Rev Mex Urol. 2005;65(4):248-252.
  • Pérez GK, Fuentes VE. Biopsia pulmonar en la enfermedad pulmonar difusa por minitoracotomía o cirugía torácica videoasistida. Revista Cubana de Cirugía. 2020;59(4):1-9.

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