Is a Bone Lesion Biopsy?
A bone lesion biopsy is a surgical procedure in which a doctor
removes a sample of your bone tissue and sends it to a laboratory for testing.
The test typically distinguishes between cancerous and noncancerous bone tumors
and diagnoses other bone abnormalities.
The procedure involves making a small incision, drilling into the
bone, and removing a sample of tissue from the lesion inside the bone. A lesion
is an abnormality in the structure of the bone, which may or may not impact
bone growth. Not all lesions are cancerous.
Do I Need a Bone Lesion Biopsy?
Your doctor may order a bone lesion biopsy if there are signs of
abnormalities in your bones. These may show up on imaging scans, such as X-rays
or CT scans. A biopsy helps doctors determine if your bone lesions are the
result of cancer, infection, or another condition.
Conditions associated with bone tumors or lesions include:
- coccidiomycosis (fungal infection)
- Ewing’s sarcoma (cancerous bone tumor that
- fibroma (benign tumor)
- histoplasmosis (fungal infection)
- multiple myeloma (cancer of the bone marrow
involving plasma cells)
- mycobacteria infection (tuberculosis)
- osteoblastoma (benign bone tumor)
- osteoid osteoma (benign bone tumor)
- osteomalacia (softening of the bones due to a
lack of vitamin D)
- osteomyelitis (bone infection)
- osteosarcoma (cancerous bone tumor that usually
appears during adolescence)
- osteitis fibrosa (softening of the bones due to
- rickets (weakening of the bones due to lack of
calcium, vitamin D, or phosphate)
Bone lesion biopsies can also provide surgeons with an inside
view of your bones. This is helpful when inspecting the status of infections or
diseases that could be candidates for amputation, such as osteomyelitis. In
some cases, the biopsy can help prevent the need for an amputation.
Do I Prepare for a Bone Lesion Biopsy?
Prior to your surgery, you’ll have imaging tests to determine the
location of your bone lesions. Using these images, your surgeon will select the
area from which they will take a tissue sample.
You’ll also undergo a physical examination. This is a good time
to tell your doctor about any medications you’re taking, including over-the-counter
medicines or supplements, and any allergies you may have.
You’ll most likely have to fast for eight hours before your
biopsy. This is standard procedure, especially if you’re undergoing general
Happens During a Bone Lesion Biopsy?
The location and type of biopsy will determine the type of
anesthesia you need. You may have local, site-specific anesthesia, or you may
need general anesthesia. Under general anesthesia, you’ll be in a painless
sleep during the entire biopsy.
During the procedure, your surgeon will make a small incision in
your skin above the bone where the sample will come from. What happens next
depends on the type of biopsy you are having.
In a needle biopsy, your surgeon will drill a small hole into the
bone. Your surgeon will extract a tissue sample using an instrument similar to
In an incisional biopsy, the surgeon will cut directly into the
tumor to remove a sample. This type of biopsy can retrieve a larger tissue
After removing the sample, your doctor will stitch the incision
wound closed and bandage it. They’ll then send the tissue sample to a
laboratory for testing.
Are the Complications Associated with a Bone Lesion Biopsy?
All surgical procedures carry risks of infection and bleeding,
which are greater for people with bleeding disorders or a compromised immune
system. Tell your doctor if you have either of these risk factors.
Other possible complications specific to bone lesion biopsies
- damage to surrounding tissue
- excessive bleeding
- bone fractures
- infection of the bone or near the biopsy area
The risks of this test are significantly lower than the risk of
not testing your bone lesions. Testing can help detect cancers or other serious
health problems so that treatment can begin as quickly as possible.
Happens After a Bone Lesion Biopsy?
After the biopsy, you’ll rest in a hospital bed until your doctor
says you can go home. You will be in charge of taking care of your incision
wound, which includes keeping the area clean and changing your bandages. Your
doctor will remove your stitches at a follow-up appointment. The site of the
biopsy may be sore for a few days after the procedure.
Your doctor will go over the results of your biopsy at a follow-up
appointment. They’ll tell you the results of the bone biopsy and outline a