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Open and Closed Biopsy

What is an Open Biopsy?

An open biopsy is a surgical procedure performed to expose a tumor and obtain a sample of tissue for microscopic analysis. Open biopsies may be classified as incisional, in which a small portion of the tumor is removed; or excisional, in which the entire tumor is removed. 

What is a Closed Biopsy?

A closed biopsy involves obtaining a tissue sample without exposing the tumor. This may be done using a needle that penetrates the tumor through the skin to obtain a tissue sample. 

Why are Open and Closed Biopsies Performed?

Open and closed biopsies are mainly performed to determine if a tumor is malignant (cancerous) or benign (non-cancerous).  The biopsies can also identify the presence of infection in the sample.

Indications for Open and Closed Biopsies 

Open biopsies are indicated when the tumor can be easily accessed without risk of injury to surrounding structures. Closed biopsies are ideal for deep-seated lesions which are close to vital structures.

Preparation for Open and Closed Biopsies 

You may be required to stop eating 8-12 hours prior to the surgery, avoid smoking as it can slow down the healing process, and inform your surgeon about any health conditions, allergies, and regular medications.

Open and Closed Biopsy Procedure

  • Regional or general anesthesia and IV sedation may be used for the biopsy.
  • For an open biopsy, an incision is made on the skin to access the tumor and a tissue sample is obtained under direct visualization.
  • For a closed biopsy, a long, hollow needle is inserted through the skin to penetrate the tumor under CT or fluoroscopic guidance. Cancer cells are aspirated through the needle.
  • A bandage may be applied to the site of the biopsy.
  • The biopsy is then sent to the laboratory for analysis.

Recovery after Open and Closed Biopsy

Following the procedure, you may be observed for a short time to ensure there are no complications from the procedure. Protect the site of the biopsy by wearing the bandage as instructed. There may be a slight discomfort that should resolve in a day or two. 

Risks and Complications of Open and Closed Biopsy

Possible risks of the procedure include:

  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Pain at the biopsy site

Benefits of Open and Closed Biopsy

Open and closed biopsies help provide a definitive diagnosis and guide the course of treatment to maximum outcomes for the patient.