Four Facts that Every Patient Should Understand About Biopsies

Four Facts that Every Patient Should Understand About Biopsies

Four Facts that Every Patient Should Understand About Biopsies

Have you ever provided cell samples that are sent to the lab for further testing? Biopsy is the scientific term that refers to the procedure that is done in order to get the tissue or skin sample that is sent to a laboratory for further testing.  As a lab facility that focuses diagnostic dermatopathology in Pittsburgh, PA, we use these samples collected during biopsies to test and make informed and accurate decisions related to dermatology-related diseases.  Our expertise allows us to use certain equipment to make difficult diagnoses for our medical clients and their patients.  As a patient, there are a few facts that you should know about biopsies before you get one.

Sample Size and Location Are Essential

When it comes time for you to get a biopsy, your doctor will already have a specific sample size and location in mind.  These two details help make your cell or tissue sample the best one for certain tests.  Because doctors are trained to already have a few diagnoses in mind before sending samples to the lab, they will likely be able to pinpoint the size and location of the biopsy they need to perform.  If the wrong location is used or the sample size is too small, physicians may be asked to repeat the biopsy again.

Turn Around Times Can Vary

Some biopsies will be more in depth than others, which means they will take more time for testing.  Others may be more routine, like a pap smear or cheek swab, and these will typically be returned quickly.  In order to do full analysis of more in-depth samples, the lab will require a few more days to perform all of the tests with the samples.  This will hone in on the diagnosis that best matches with the test results.  Sometimes, this involves multiple tests that rule out particular diseases before they find a match with the correct ones.

Samples May Be Used in the Future

When a patient has been confirmed to have a tumor or malignant cell sample, these samples may be safely and securely stored for future use.  If they happen to have a course of treatment that isn't working or a reoccurrence later, these biopsies can be revisited and used for analysis in further testing.  Sometimes, lab facilities are required to store biopsies for future use.  

They are Used to Diagnose and Decide Treatment

A dermatopathologist will be sure to use the biopsy samples to determine accurate diagnosis, which is critical to patients' treatment options.  Labs may also be able to determine the effective and most beneficial treatment to suggest by studying the samples for any genetic changes or hormone receptors that may affect treatment.  This information is also helpful in ruling out options to help the patient get healthy.


These are a few of the main facts that will help you understand biopsies and what they entail.  Most likely, you will need to have one completed at some point in your lifetime in order to rule out diseases and diagnoses.  Our lab specializes in diagnostic dermatopathology in Pittsburgh, PA, and we work diligently to provide our patients with the best information to make an informed diagnosis.  Contact us to hear about our lab services today.



440 William Pitt Way
Pittsburgh, PA 15238


Monday-Friday: 8am-5pm
Saturday & Sunday: Closed


(800) 786-3054 - Toll Free
(412) 968-9266 - Local
(412) 968-5673 - Fax



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