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A surgical biopsy is a procedure that involves the surgical removal of tissue from a lump or mass for examination under a microscope. This test may also be called an open biopsy.
There are 2 basic types of surgical biopsy:
Surgical biopsy is used to:
A surgical biopsy may be done in the doctor’s office or in the hospital on an outpatient basis. Small lumps that can be felt (palpable) and non-palpable lumps can be removed with surgical biopsy.
Side effects can occur with any surgical procedure, but not everyone has them or experiences them in the same way. Most side effects of surgical biopsy are short term and may include:
Biopsy samples are sent to the pathology lab. A pathologist (a doctor who specializes in the causes and nature of disease) will look at the cells in the tissue to see if they contain cancer. The pathology report indicates the characteristics and type of cells present and if cells are normal, non-cancerous or cancerous.
The doctor will decide whether further tests, procedures, follow-up care or additional treatment are needed.
An excisional biopsy may be all the treatment required for some very early cancers.
Being prepared for a test or procedure can reduce anxiety, increase cooperation and help the child develop coping skills. Parents or caregivers can help prepare children by explaining to them what will happen, including what they will see, feel and hear during the test.
The preparation you can provide for this test depends on the age and experience of the child. See the following for more age-specific information on helping children cope with tests and treatment.