Is a Gastric Tissue Biopsy and Culture?
A gastric tissue biopsy and
culture are laboratory tests that examine stomach tissue. These tests are
typically carried out to determine the cause of a stomach ulcer or other
troublesome stomach symptoms. Gastric
tissue biopsy is the term used for the examination of tissue
removed from the stomach. For a culture,
the tissue is placed in a special dish to see if bacteria or other organisms
Tissue samples from the stomach
are obtained during an endoscopic exam. In this procedure, a long, flexible
tube with a small camera (endoscope) is inserted down your throat and esophagus
and into your stomach and upper small intestine (duodenum).
With the endoscope, the doctor
can view your stomach for irregularities and remove tissue samples for biopsy
and culture. The samples are then analyzed for the presence of infections or
cancerous cells and signs of inflammation.
of Gastric Tissue Biopsy and Culture
Your doctor may order a gastric
tissue biopsy and culture if you are experiencing any of these symptoms:
- pain in your
- nausea or
- loss of
- black stools
These laboratory tests can help
diagnose cancer and infections, including H. pylori, which can cause ulcers of the stomach.
Helicobacter Pylori Bacteria
pylori are bacteria that can
infect your stomach. The risk of having H. pylori infection is greater for those who live in
crowded or unsanitary conditions. It is a common cause of peptic ulcers. About
half the world’s population carries some H. pylori bacteria, but most will never have symptoms.
Symptoms of H. pylori infection include:
- weight loss
- an ache or pain in the abdomen
Complications can include ulcers,
inflammation of the stomach lining and small intestine, and stomach cancer.
Treatment for H. pylori infection includes
antibiotics and acid suppression drugs. Follow-up testing may be recommended to
see if the treatment is working.
the Gastric Tissue Is Obtained
The best way to get tissue
samples from the stomach is through a procedure called an
esophagogastroduodenoscopy. It is more commonly known as an endoscopy or EGD.
This is generally done as an outpatient procedure.
Preparation for Endoscopy
You will be instructed to stop
eating and drinking for about six to 12 hours before the procedure. You will
also be advised to stop taking blood-thinning medications. Make sure you get
specific instructions from your doctor based on your medical condition.
How the Endoscopy Works
Dentures or partials must be
removed. An IV will be inserted into your vein for medications. You will be
given a sedative, a painkiller, and a local anesthetic in your mouth to prevent
coughing and gagging. You will also have a mouth guard to protect your teeth
and the endoscope.
You will lie on your left side
during the procedure. The doctor will insert the endoscope down your throat,
through your esophagus, and into the stomach and upper small intestine. Air is
put into the endoscope to help the doctor see clearly.
The doctor will perform a visual
inspection and take tissue samples for biopsy and culture.
The procedure will take about
five to 20 minutes and the samples will be sent to a lab for examination. The
results will be sent to your doctor for review.
After the Endoscopy
You must refrain from eating and
drinking until your gag reflex returns. Your throat may feel a little sore and
you might feel gas and bloating because of the air in the endoscope. These side
effects will wear off shortly, and you will be able to return home the same
the Lab: How Gastric Tissue Biopsy and Culture Work
Biopsy tissue samples from your
stomach are sent to a laboratory where they are processed and cultured.
For the processed tissue, the
biopsy samples from your stomach are examined under a microscope for signs of
damage or disease. This is the only way to confirm cancer.
For the culture, biopsy samples
from your stomach are placed in a special culture dish. The tissue is monitored
to see if bacteria, fungus, viruses, or other organisms grow.
After the biopsy, the actual
processed specimen and culture test take place in a laboratory and carry no
Most people experience few side
effects from the endoscopy, but there are some risks from the procedure. These
include perforation in the stomach, upper small intestine, or esophagus, and
bleeding where tissue samples were taken.
There is also a small risk of a
bad reaction to the medication (sedative, painkiller, or anesthesia), which
could result in difficulty breathing, excessive sweating, low blood pressure,
slow heartbeat, or spasm of the larynx. If you experience any of these
symptoms, tell your doctor immediately.
When the stomach tissue biopsy
and culture do not show damage, H.
pylori bacteria, signs of infection, or cancer, they are usually
considered to be normal.
Abnormal stomach tissue biopsy
and culture results may be due to:
- gastric cancer
(inflamed or swollen stomach lining)
- H. pylori infection
(which can cause ulcers)
Your doctor will explain your
results in detail. If the results are abnormal, your doctor will discuss the
next steps and go over treatment options with you.