Surgical biopsy for soft tissue sarcoma

A surgical biopsy is a procedure where a doctor takes a tissue sample from the lump or removes the whole lump. A surgical biopsy might be useful if:

  • results of a core needle biopsy are unclear
  • the lump is deep in the body

A specialist (pathologist) then looks at the cells under a microscope to find out if it is a sarcoma. 

What happens?

You will have either a local anaesthetic or general anaesthetic depending on where the lump is and how big it is.

Surgical biopsy means using a surgical knife (scalpel) to open the area and take a tissue sample from the lump. Or, if the lump is small enough, the surgeon may remove it completely. This is called an excision biopsy.

Getting your results

You usually get the results within 2 weeks. The doctor who arranged the biopsy will give them to you.

Waiting for test results can be worrying. It may help to talk to a close friend or relative about how you feel.

For support and information, you can call the Cancer Research UK nurses on freephone 0808 800 4040. The lines are open from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.

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