A diagnostic test in which a small amount of tissue or cells are removed from the body for microscopic examination. It is an accurate method of diagnosing many illnesses, including cancer. There are several types of biopsy:
- Excisional biopsy - the whole abnormal area is removed for study.
- Incisional biopsy - involves cutting away a small sample of skin or muscle for analysis.
- Needle biopsy - a needle is inserted through the skin and into the organ or tumour to be investigated.
- Aspiration biopsy - uses a needle and syringe to remove cells from a solid lump.