Recovering from a biopsy

Biopsies are usually straightforward procedures that are carried out using local anaesthetic.

They are often outpatient procedures, meaning you will not need to stay in hospital overnight.

However, some types of biopsy, such as those that involve taking a tissue sample from an internal organ, will require a general anaesthetic. In this case, you may need to stay in hospital overnight.

After having a biopsy, you will not usually feel any pain. However, if you’ve had a tissue sample taken from a major organ, such as your liver or bone marrow, you may feel a dull ache or some slight discomfort. Your doctor or surgeon will be able to advise you about the painkillers you can take to help relieve this.

If an incision is needed to remove a tissue sample – for example, during an endoscopic biopsy or an excisional biopsy – stitches may be required to close the wound, or a dressing may need to be applied.

If tissue is removed from an internal organ, such as your liver or kidneys, you will need to stay in hospital for a few hours after the procedure.

This is so that you can rest and hospital staff can ensure there is no internal bleeding. It is rare for serious bleeding to occur following a biopsy, but if it does, you may need to have an operation or a blood transfusion.

Women who have had samples taken from their reproductive system, such as the lining of the cervix (neck of the womb), may experience some light, temporary vaginal bleeding. Painkillers can be used to help treat any cramping you experience.

Men who have had a prostate biopsy may temporarily have blood in their urine.

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