What is biopsy?

Biopsy is a process in which a sample of tissue is extracted through different process from a particular part of the body. This is done by the doctor if there is any doubt of abnormality in the particular tissue or organ. Biopsy is mostly done to identify cancerous growth in any particular organ. Biopsy can answer a lot of important medical questions and hence it is very important to be performed as and when needed. For e.g. a lump in the breast can be studied for breast cancer via mammography, biopsy of a mole on the body surface can determine the reason for change in the shape of the mole. These are only a few examples. When any organ is transplanted biopsy also helps us study the success of the transplanted organ.

Mesothelioma Biopsy

Different types of biopsy

  • Needle biopsy
  • CT scan biopsy
  • Ultrasound guided biopsy
  • Aspiration biopsy
  • Surgical biopsy

Needle biopsy

In most of the biopsies a needle is used to extract a particular tissue that is to be observed.

CT scan biopsy

In this kind of biopsy a needle is inserted into a person’s body. Then a CT scan is performed to determine the exact position of the needle in the target tissue and then the extraction of the tissue is performed.

Ultrasound guided biopsy

In this kind of biopsy the doctor guides the needle into the target tissue by observing the process through ultrasound.

Aspiration biopsy

In this kind of biopsy a needle withdraws a particular material out of a lump of tissue, which is to be observed. This type of process is called aspiration biopsy.

Surgical biopsy

In this process an open or laproscopic surgery is performed to remove a part or entire lump of the tissue. This lump is then studied via biopsy.

Biopsy in mesothelioma

Biopsy is the most accurate method for the detection of mesothelioma. In peritoneal mesothelioma needle aspiration can be used as a technique to remove the tissue. But, in pleural mesothelioma thoracoscopic biopsy is more prevalent.

Thoracoscopic biopsy

This process is an open pleural biopsy. This helps the doctor to remove multiple tissues from around the plasma layer of the lung. Most of the places now a days have the assistance of video that helps the doctor in the accurate tissue removal process.
The other types of biopsies that are involved in mesothelioma are as follows

  • Fine needle aspiration
  • Thoracentesis
  • Thoracotomy
  • Endoscopic biopsy
  • Incisional biopsy
  • Excisional biopsy

Fine needle aspiration

In this kind of biopsy a small hollow needle is used to aspirate the sample that is to be observed.


In this kind of process a hollow needle is used to extract fluid and air from the space between the lungs and pleura. This process is helpful in pleural mesothelioma.


It is the type of invasive surgery, which gives access to lungs, heart, aorta, diaphragm, etc.  In this type of biopsy a small wedge shaped tissue is removed for the study.

Endoscopic biopsy

In this type biopsy is performed through endoscopy and the tissue is removed through small sharp forceps attached to the endoscope.

Incisional biopsy

When the tumor is easily accessible, a small incision is made and only a small tissue is removed for further study.

Excisional biopsy

In this type of biopsy, through surgery the entire tissue or the organ is removed for further study. This also saves us from second removal surgery that is performed after the diagnosis.


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