A biopsy is a small surgery during which a sample of tissue is taken in order to determine the type of tumor your child has.
The tissue sample will then be looked at by your surgeon and a pathologist (a physician who specializes in examining tissue) under a microscope. Sometimes a preliminary diagnosis is available on the day of biopsy; however it may take up to a week to get a final diagnosis. The results of the biopsy let us know how we should best treat your child.
The type of biopsy your surgeon performs is based on what type of tumor we anticipate it to be, and the location of the tumor. In some cases an excisional biopsy is performed and the tumor may be completely removed.
Learn more about osteosarcoma and Ewing’s sarcoma.
What to Expect for Your Child’s Tumor Biopsy
A biopsy is obtained while a patient is under general anesthesia in the operating room. Your child will not be conscious and will not feel any pain during the procedure.
Your child will fall asleep breathing special air through a mask. Once he or she is asleep, the anesthesiologist will insert a small IV tube into your child’s arm to give anesthesia.
Recovery, Side Effects and Going Home
The biopsy incision size varies depending on the type of biopsy performed. Usually, a bandage will be used to cover the incision and this may be removed after a few days, at which point your child may shower.
The risks or side effects involved with a biopsy may include bruising, discomfort, and bleeding after the procedure. When biopsying bony tumors, there is a possibility of fracture since the bone around the biopsy site can be very thin as a result of the tumor. There may be additional risks depending on the location of the tumor.
Your surgeon at Children’s Hospital Colorado will discuss any risks with you prior to surgery. Your child’s care team will also give you detailed instructions on what to do before your child comes in for a biopsy, as well as what to do when you leave the hospital.
Learn more about the Orthopedic Oncology Program at Children’s Colorado.