The biopsy (Greek βιοψία viopsía of Greek βίος bios "life" and ὄψις opsis "seeing" ) is a technical term from the medicine for the removal and examination of material ( mostly tissue) from a living organism. The removed tissue ( bioptate ) is examined by the pathologist under a microscope. In addition, chemical analyzes are among the methods of investigation.

The findings from a biopsy to make statements to pathological changes in the histological structure ( histopathology ) of the examined tissue. In particular, the question of whether it is malignant or benign tumors can be usually resolved only by a biopsy.


There are various forms of woven or sampling. Most biopsies are performed with special cannulas. Depending on the instrument used is called:

  • Fine-needle biopsy (English fine needle aspiration )
  • Incisional biopsy ( A part of the tumor is removed under anesthesia, for example )
  • Curettage
  • Needle biopsy (English needle biopsy )
  • Punch biopsy (English punch biopsy )
  • Vacuum-assisted biopsy (English vacuum -assisted core biopsy or core needle biopsy )
  • Forceps biopsy using a biopsy forceps

Also, the word combination of " biopsy " and the organ to be examined is common (eg, liver biopsy, muscle biopsy, lung biopsy, renal biopsy, brain biopsy).

Most first a small skin incision is made, especially in the wide-lumen biopsy needles. Biopsies can, depending on the organ, without visual control ( "blind" ) are performed in combination with imaging techniques or.

One speaks of a incisional biopsy ( incisional biopsy engl. ) when only a small part of the questionable tissue - for example, a tumor - is removed, and an excisional biopsy of (English excisional biopsy ), if the entire stove removed during sampling will. The excisional biopsy is usually done surgically, ie via a skin incision. This should only be done for small lesions. Generally, there is at each biopsy, the risk of tumor cell displacement, but applies in most tumors, " Without diagnosis no treatment ". The immediate removal of - possibly - malignancy of the tissue within the meaning of the excisional biopsy, as it would be obvious, is often not possible because it is not clear how large the safety precautions that distances are. Many tumors also require before a definitive distance pretreatment ( neoadjuvant therapy). But in the open biopsies ( incisional biopsy ) is generally in a range of the access path during the subsequent operation is necessary, so as to leave no tumor cells. Therefore, in particular, a biopsy is performed on the suspicion of a sarcoma, already done where later the final treatment is planned.


  • Biopsy in soft tissue and bone tumors
  • Biopsies on