A biopsy is a procedure done to remove tissue or cells from the body to be looked at under a microscope. A bone biopsy is a procedure in which bone samples are removed (with a special biopsy needle or during surgery) to find out if cancer or other abnormal cells are present. A bone biopsy involves the outer layers of bone, unlike a bone marrow biopsy, which involves the innermost part of the bone.
There are two types of biopsy:
Other related procedures that may be used to help diagnose bone problems include CT scan, X-ray, MRI of the bones, and bone scan.
Bone biopsies may be done to:
Your healthcare provider may have other reasons to recommend a bone biopsy.
As with any surgical procedure, complications can occur. Some possible complications may include:
Other risks may exist, depending on your specific health condition. Be sure to discuss any concerns with your healthcare provider before the procedure.
A bone biopsy may be done on an outpatient basis, or as part of your stay in a hospital. Procedures may vary, depending on your condition and your healthcare provider’s practices.
In addition, some biopsies may be done using local anesthesia to numb the area. Others may be done under general or spinal anesthesia. If spinal anesthesia is used, you will have no feeling from your waist down. Your healthcare provider will discuss this with you in advance.
Generally, a bone biopsy follows this process:
Your recovery process will vary, depending on the type of anesthesia that is given. You will be taken to the recovery room for observation. Once your blood pressure, pulse, and breathing are stable and you are alert, you will be taken to your hospital room or discharged to your home.
Once you are home, it is important to keep the biopsy area clean and dry. Your healthcare provider will give you specific bathing instructions. If stitches are used, they will be removed during a follow-up office visit. If adhesive strips are used, they should be kept dry and generally will fall off within a few days.
The biopsy site may be tender or sore for several days after the bone biopsy. Take a pain reliever for soreness as your healthcare provider recommends. Aspirin or certain other pain medicines may increase the chance of bleeding. Be sure to take only recommended medicines.
Tell your healthcare provider if you have:
You may go back to your usual diet and activities unless your healthcare provider advises you otherwise. Your provider may ask you to avoid strenuous physical activity for a few days.
Your healthcare provider may give you additional or alternate instructions after the procedure, depending on your particular case.
Before you agree to the test or the procedure make sure you know:
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