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Methods to diagnose bone cancer – Biopsy

A biopsy is a medical procedure that removes a tissue sample for microscopic examination. The biopsy is the most conclusive test because it confirms if the tumor is malignant or benign, the bone cancer type (primary or secondary bone cancer), and stage.
Types of biopsy procedures used to diagnose bone cancer include:

Needle Biopsy

During a needle biopsy, the surgeon makes a small hole in the bone and removes a sample of tissue from the tumor with a needle-like instrument. There are 2 types of needle biopsies: fine needle biopsies and core needle biopsies. In Fine Needle Biopsy, the tissue sample is removed with a thin needle attached to a syringe. In Core Needle Biopsy, the doctor removes a small cylinder of tissue sample from the tumor with a rotating knife like device.

Surgical bone biopsy

In this procedure, a surgeon needs to cut through the skin to reach the tumor in order to remove a small piece of tissue. This is also called an incisional biopsy. If the entire tumor is removed (not just a small piece), it is called an excisional biopsy. These biopsies are often done under general anesthesia (with the patient asleep). They can also be done using a nerve block, which makes a large area numb.

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