A biopsy involves removing bodily tissue to examine it for disease, typically cancer.
The procedure also may be used to diagnose other conditions, such as an infection, the Radiological Society of North America says.
Some biopsies involve removing a small amount of tissue with a needle, while others entail surgically removing an entire suspicious lump or nodule.
Preparation varies based on the extent of the procedure. Needle biopsies require minimal preparation. Surgical procedures generally are more involved, and may require not eating or drinking in the hours before the procedure. Some may even require hospitalization.
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