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 lay 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
- 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
- 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
- You will stay for a short time after the biopsy until your
doctor says it is okay for you to go.
An open biopsy is done in an operating
room by a surgeon. During the biopsy, you lay on an operating bed. An open
biopsy takes 30 to 60 minutes.
- Before an open biopsy, you will be given
general anesthesia or medicine to block feeling in the area where the skin cut
is made. You will have an intravenous (IV) line in a vein in your arm for
medicines and fluids. Before making a skin cut, your surgeon uses a special
soap to clean the skin over the bone where the biopsy sample will be taken. The
area may need to be shaved.
- The surgeon makes a cut to see the bone
and take out a small piece.
- After an open biopsy, the cut is
cleaned and closed with stitches (sutures). A bandage is put on the area. The
stitches are taken out about 14 days after the biopsy.
- You may need
to stay overnight in the hospital after an open biopsy is done.
In rare cases a special test of your bone tissue (frozen
section) is done while you are having an open biopsy. The bone taken for a
frozen section is quickly frozen, thinly sliced, and looked at under a
microscope. If cancer cells are seen, your surgeon may take out some more of
the bone during the procedure.