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Tissue sampling for diagnosis

A biopsy is a sampling of tissue, usually from a lump or unusual growth, which allows for further testing. This is a medical procedure used to identify abnormal cells.

Your doctor will only recommend a biopsy if your lump cannot be diagnosed with an ultrasound. mammogram, or other diagnostic procedure. A biopsy is a medical procedure in which a sample of the tissue of the lump is removed for further testing and examination.

When the cells of the tissue are examined under a microscope, it is possible to identify any abnormal cells that may be present. It can provide information about functional and structural problems within individual organs.

Biopsies are also used to assess the severity of an existing condition that has already been diagnosed. The results of your biopsy will ensure that you get the best and most appropriate treatment for your condition.


Preparing for test

No preparation is required, although you may be asked to stop taking blood-thinning medications for the day of the procedure.

During the test

In order to obtain the sample tissue, a hollow needle is inserted through the skin into the area of the lump. The needle is guided to the right place with the help of ultrasound scans, X-rays, CT or MRI scans, and then removes a small amount of tissue.

This procedure is usually done in conjunction with a local anaesthetic in order to avoid any pain or discomfort. You may experience a dull ache in the area after the sample has been taken, which can be addressed with painkillers.

Type of sample taken:

Tissue Sample


You will discuss the delivery of your results with the specialist you will be refered to


Is a biopsy painful?

Biopsies are performed with a local anaesthetic, to keep pain levels at a minimum. You may experience more discomfort if the tissue (such as in the breast) is especially dense, or if the area to be tested is close to a sensitive area. Some swelling and bruising may follow the procedure.

Why do I need to have a biopsy?

The doctor will recommend that you have a biopsy in order to take a sample of your tissue in the presence of an abnormality. A biopsy will only be recommended when the doctor is unable to diagnose you through other means.

What is a prostate biopsy?

In a prostate biopsy, a small sample of tissue from the prostate gland is removed for further testing underneath a microscope. The biopsy needle is usually inserted through the perineum, or more commonly through the rectum. A local anaesthetic may be given.

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Please note that Walk-in Clinic is a private medical centre and not an NHS service.
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