A biopsy is a procedure designed to remove a small sample of tissue is taken from the area in question, typically the tumor, and examined by a pathologist, a physician who specializes in reviewing cells and abnormalities in cells. The pathologist will run special tests on the tissue and examine it under a microscope to determine what is causing the abnormal growth.
Types of biopsy:
|Needle biopsy (sometimes called a core biopsy or fine needle biopsy) – a needle is used to obtain a sample of tissue|
|CT-guided biopsy – a CT (CAT) scan is utilized to provide the physician obtaining the tissue (usually an interventional radiologist) precise access to the tissue|
|Incisional biopsy – a biopsy performed by making a small incision to access the location of suspicious tissue then using a needle or other small instrument to collect a sample|
|Open biopsy – a biopsy done in surgery; may be done when the location of the tumor is difficult to get to by other methods|
It is important that a biopsy of an extremity tumor be done by a physician with extensive experience in diagnosing and treating these types of tumors.
A biopsy that is done incorrectly can limit the options for surgical resection if this is a necessary step in treatment.
In addition, the pathologist reviewing the biopsy tissue should have experience reviewing biopsies from extremity tumors.
Extremity tumors are in general very rare so accuracy in diagnosis is improved in a center where more extremity tumors are diagnosed and treated.