A biopsy is the removal of a small piece of tissue from the body in order to examine it more closely for abnormality or disease. A biopsy may be necessary if an initial test suggests an area of tissue in the body isn’t normal.

A biopsy is done to diagnose a problem or to help determine the best therapy/treatment options for an identified health problem. Biopsies are most often done to look for cancer, but they can be used to help identify a lot of other conditions.

There are many different kinds of biopsies. Most of them involve using a sharp tool to remove a small amount of tissue. An abnormal biopsy means that the tissue or cells have an unusual structure, shape, size, or condition. This may indicate the presence of a disease, such as cancer – but it all depends on the results of the biopsy and associated symptoms.

Your doctor will explain the results in full, and will sometimes perform additional tests, before proceeding to a diagnosis.

Learn more from the National Institute of Health online.