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Bone biopsy – how is it performed?

Bone biopsy is a procedure in which a bone needle is taken with a special needle or during surgery to analyze whether it contains cancer cells or other abnormal cell types. Unlike a bone marrow biopsy that takes a sample from the inside of the bone, a bone biopsy involves the outer layers.

There are two types of biopsy:

needle biopsy – local anesthesia; a small incision is made on the skin and the needle penetrates the target bone structure,open biopsy – general anesthesia; make a larger incision and surgically remove a portion of the bone.

Needle biopsy is a less invasive method that is more preferred.

When is a bone biopsy indicated?

  • for confirmation of a bone disease,
  • checking for an abnormal area or lesion seen on x-ray, CT or magnetic resonance imaging,
  • to differentiate a bone tumor from another condition, such as an infection,
  • to distinguish benign from malignant tumor,
  • to determine the cause of the infection or inflammation,
  • to identify the cause of pain.

How to prepare?

Before the procedure, it is necessary to inform the doctor:

  • what medicines or supplements you normally take,
  • do you have problems with bleeding or blood clotting,
  • are you allergic to any medication,
  • are you pregnant.

If you are taking clotting medication, you will discontinue therapy a few days before the biopsy. You must not eat or drink for 8 hours before biopsy . Medications that you may take despite a biopsy can be taken in the morning on the day of the biopsy with a few sips of water.

How is a bone biopsy performed?

The patient is given a local anesthetic to the place where a bone biopsy will be taken so he will not feel pain. Then the doctor makes a small incision on the skin above the bone. Using a very thin needle, a sample of cells or tissues will be collected from the outer layer of bone.

It is possible to feel a slight pressure when the needle enters and the sample is taken out. As soon as the procedure is completed, bandage the area to stop the bleeding.The procedure itself takes from 30 to 60 minutes, depending on the size of the area of the desired bone biopsy and its localization.

What after a bone biopsy?

They can direct you to a recovery room, where they will check your blood pressure, pulse and breathing rate again, and soon you will go home.

Your doctor will show you how to keep the needle area clean that can hurt you for the next week. Painkillers can be relieved.

A sample of collected cells is given for analysis.

There is a certain risk of bone biopsy complications:

  • haemorrhage from needle stitch area,
  • infection,
  • nerve or blood vessel damage,
  • bone fracture.

If you notice any leakage of blood or fluid from the biopsy area, heat or swelling, fever and persistent pain, tell your doctor.

Complications are rare, and the benefits of having a bone biopsy procedure outweigh the potential risks if it helps to make an accurate diagnosis.

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Written by Radica

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