Men's Health

How to Prepare for a Biopsy

How to Prepare for a Biopsy

Key Takeaways

  • A biopsy preparation depends on the type of biopsy you are going to have.
  • Preparation is required for both the patient and the health care provider.
  • Thorough preparations are crucial in achieving accurate results. 

A biopsy procedure is a very important procedure, which is used to identify the underlying cause of your abnormal body tissues. Depending on your condition and the location of the tissue abnormality, different types of biopsies may be performed on you. A biopsy preparation, therefore, depends on the type of biopsy you are going to have. In case your physician informs you that you are a candidate for biopsy, you should know some things that you must prepare and also learn what you need to discuss with your doctor before the procedure.

What questions should I ask my doctor?

Before you undergo a biopsy procedure, you should consider asking your doctor the following questions:

  • Why do I need to have a biopsy?
  • What are the possible risks if I won't have a biopsy?
  • What is going to happen during the procedure?
  • How long will biopsy results take? How am I going to receive the results? Who is going to explain the results to me?
  • Will the whole procedure be painful?
  • How long will the whole procedure take?
  • Who is going to perform the procedure?
  • Are there any risks associated with the procedure?
  • Are there any side effects or long-term complications associated with biopsy?
  • Will this procedure leave a mark or scar on my skin?
  • For how long will I stay in the hospital after having a biopsy?
  • What activities will I have to avoid after a biopsy?
  • Will I need someone to take me home after the procedure?
  • Will there be other additional procedures or tests alongside biopsy?

The major question to ask your physician is how you should prepare for a biopsy, such as certain restrictions on what you may drink or eat a day before the procedure.

Preparation

In preparation for biopsy, you should consider the following:

1. Stop taking certain drugs

Before your doctor's appointment for your biopsy preparation, you should bring the list of all medications that you regularly take. These medications include over-the-counter drugs and medications such as painkillers, herbal supplements, and vitamins. Before undergoing any type of biopsy, your doctor will ask you to stop taking any drugs or medications that may increase the risk of excessive bleeding. These medications include:

  • Ibuprofen and aspirin, among other painkillers
  • Anticoagulants or blood-thinning drugs such as warfarin
  • Some dietary supplements that may cause excessive bleeding

Your doctor will also tell you to avoid other medications for a short time maybe before and after your biopsy.

2. Go for a blood test

Before undergoing any type of biopsy procedure, you need to undergo certain blood tests to check your blood's clotting ability. In case you have blood clotting problems, you need to have blood clotting medications before a biopsy to reduce the chances of excessive bleeding. Other blood tests may also be performed to make sure that your body is free from diseases or other health conditions before having the procedure. Some of the extra tests include a red blood cell (RBC) count, test for malaria, and blood pressure.

3. Don’t eat or drink anything before a biopsy

If you are going to have a liver biopsy or biopsies in the gastrointestinal tract, your doctor will ask you not to eat or drink anything 6 to 8 hours before the procedure. Some people are recommended to take a lighter breakfast.

4. Mind about recovery

In some biopsies, your doctor will consider giving you a sedative to numb your nerves before the procedure. In such a case, you should arrange to have someone drive you home after the procedure. You should also arrange for someone to look after you during the first night. Some doctors may also recommend other patients to stay near the hospital where the biopsy was done, in case complications may arise.

5. Watch your dressing

Another important thing you should consider in preparation for a biopsy is your dressing. You should not wear tight clothing, belts, and tight shoes. Doing so will ensure a normal flow of blood before and after the procedure. You should also avoid wearing jewelry such as earrings, necklaces, watches, and expensive belts. Hospitals will not be responsible for any loss of your valuable belongings. You should also take a bath in the morning of your biopsy schedule to make sure your skin is germ-free.

Biopsy Procedure Preparations

Pre-biopsy procedures depend on the body part where the biopsy will be done. You may either lie on your stomach or on your back depending on the procedure. In some types of biopsies, you may be required to hold your breath when the biopsy needle is being inserted. In other types of biopsies, you may be required to remain still until the procedure is over. Your doctor will inform you ahead of time of what you should expect during the procedure so that you can be prepared.

In preparation for a biopsy, you will receive a certain type of anesthesia. It is a type of medication that is used to numb your nerves and reduce pain awareness during the procedure. The types of anesthesia that are mostly used in biopsies depend on the type of procedure and the section of the body under operation. They include:

  • General anesthesia - this medication makes the patient unconscious during the main biopsy procedure. If you take such type of anesthesia, you become unconscious and not aware of the procedure.
  • Sedatives - are also called "monitored anesthesia care" or "conscious sedation." They are used together with local or general anesthesia to make you relax during the procedure.
  • Local anesthesia - is a medication that is injected directly into the area of biopsy to numb the nerves and reduce pain. You may feel a sting or slight pain when local anesthesia is injected by a needle to numb the nerves in the area of operation.

Bottom Line

Since biopsy procedures are very important in the diagnosis of any hidden or suspicious disease in your body, thorough preparations are crucial in achieving accurate results. Preparation for any type of biopsy will include patient preparation one day before the operation. On the other hand, the doctor and nurses need to make other preparations to make sure that the patient is ready for the procedure.