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Bone Biopsy

How It Is Done continued...

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.

How It Feels

Closed or needle biopsy

You may feel a brief pinch or sting from the numbing medicine. You may feel pressure or a brief, sharp pain as the needle enters the bone. You may also feel an aching pain or pressure when the bone tissue sample is taken out. After the procedure, the biopsy site may be sore and tender for up to a week. Your doctor will talk to you about pain medicine.

Open biopsy

You will be asleep or the area will be numb so you will not feel any pain. After the biopsy, you may feel sleepy for about 2 hours. The biopsy site may be sore and tender for up to a week. Your doctor will talk to you about pain medicine.

After a bone biopsy

  • If a closed biopsy is done, you may go home shortly after the procedure. If you got a sedative, you may need to stay longer and have someone drive you home.
  • If an open biopsy is done, you may need to stay in the hospital overnight. Arrange to have someone drive you to and from the hospital or clinic.
  • A bandage will be placed over the biopsy site. You may be told to keep the biopsy site covered and dry for 48 hours. A small amount of bleeding from the biopsy site is normal. Ask your doctor how much drainage to expect.

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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