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Bone Biopsy

How To Prepare continued...

Getting ready for a bone biopsy changes depending on the type of biopsy that will be done.

  • For a closed biopsy (needle biopsy), you do not need to do anything before the procedure. Right before the procedure, you will be asked to remove most or all of your clothes. You will be given a gown to use. You will be awake during the procedure. Arrange to have someone drive you home because you may get a medicine (sedative) to help you relax.
  • For an open biopsy, your doctor will tell you how soon before surgery to stop eating and drinking. Follow the instructions exactly about when to stop eating and drinking, or your surgery may be canceled. If your doctor has instructed you to take your medicines on the day of surgery, please do so using only a sip of water. You can eat your regular diet after the procedure. You may need to stay overnight in the hospital after an open biopsy is done.

You will be asked to sign a consent form that says you understand the risks of the test and agree to have it done.

Talk to your doctor about any concerns you have regarding the need for the biopsy, its risks, how it will be done, or what the results will mean. To help you understand the importance of this procedure, fill out the medical test information form(What is a PDF document?).

How It Is Done

Closed or needle biopsy

A closed or needle biopsy is done in a hospital or clinic by a doctor who specializes in X-ray tests (radiologist) or by a surgeon who specializes in conditions of the bone (orthopedic surgeon).

During the biopsy, you lie on an examining table or firm bed. It is important to lie very still during the entire procedure. Tell your doctor if you need to move or get more comfortable. You may feel pressure or discomfort during the biopsy. A needle biopsy takes 15 to 30 minutes.

  • Before a needle biopsy, an intravenous (IV) line may be put into a vein in your arm. You may be given a sedative to help you relax. You will be awake during the biopsy.
  • Your doctor uses a special soap to clean the skin over the bone where the biopsy sample will be taken. The skin area may need to be shaved. Then your doctor gives you a numbing medicine (local anesthetic) in your skin.
  • The radiologist or surgeon puts a long, thin needle through the skin into the bone. Your doctor may make a small cut in your skin before putting the needle in so the needle passes easily. Then your doctor takes out a small amount of bone through the needle.
  • After a closed or needle biopsy, a small bandage is placed over the area and pressure is put on the area to stop any bleeding. After bleeding has stopped, medicine to prevent infection (topical antiseptic medicine) may be put on the skin. A clean bandage is put on the area.
  • You will stay for a short time after the biopsy until your doctor says it is okay for you to go.

Open biopsy

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: October 04, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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