What is a biopsy?

A biopsy is a procedure in which a doctor places a small needle through the skin and into the lesion (the abnormal spot or growth) to extract tissue samples or fluid. This specimen is sent to a laboratory for analysis.

A biopsy is commonly performed in the bone, thyroid, soft tissues, kidney, spleen, liver and other organs.

How is a biopsy performed?

Depending on the area, the doctor will use either ultrasound or CT scan for guidance. The doctor will numb the area and insert a needle through the skin, near the area of interest. Then several small pieces of the lesion will be obtained. Sometimes the doctor inserts a substance called Gelfoam® into the tract (where the needle went into the organ) to minimize risk of bleeding. The body absorbs the substance, which is harmless.

When finished we will place gauze and a clear bandage over the needle-puncture site.

Will my child be awake during the procedure?

No. The procedure will be performed with intravenous sedation or general anesthesia.

How long does the procedure take?

Generally a biopsy takes an hour. The length of time will vary depending on the location of the biopsy.

What risks are associated with this procedure?

Biopsies are considered low risk. However, potential complications include:

  • bleeding
  • infection
  • injury to surrounding structures such as veins/arteries or adjacent organs

Risks vary depending on the location of the biopsy.

What can I expect after the procedure?

Depending on the biopsy location, your child may experience some discomfort. Your child may stay in the recovery area for several hours. Sometimes we will take a blood count (CBC) four hours after the procedure. These steps help us to safely monitor your child for any bleeding.

Are there any activity restrictions?

After the procedure, your child should rest for the remainder of the day. The next day, your child can return to light activities, but should avoid strenuous activity, such as rough playing or contact sports for one week.

When can my child shower?

The bandage must stay dry and in place for 48 hours. You may sponge bathe your child during this time, as long as the bandage stays dry. After 48 hours you may remove the clear bandage and gauze and your child can take a shower. Leave the Steri-Strips® (white strips) in place. Do not immerse the site in water until the Steri-Strips fall off. If they haven’t fallen off in seven days, you may remove them at that time.

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