Biopsy simply means to obtain a sample of the tissue within the tumor for evaluation to determine what specific type of tumor it is. This is important as the treatment of tumors really depends on what kind of tumor it is. Biopsy can be performed either using an open approach (surgery), or with the use of a needle to sample the cells within the tumor.
Open biopsy is a type of biopsy that is performed in the operating room under anesthesia. With the patient asleep, a small incision is made and a piece of the tumor is removed surgically and then examined under the microscope by our pathologists.
In recent years, we have developed a lesser invasive means for obtaining tissue for a diagnosis called "needle biopsy". We can frequently perform needle biopsies in order to identify tumors. These can be done in the office under local anesthesia (numbing medication in the skin). A needle is placed through the skin into the tumor and tumor cells are retrieved through the needle and sent to our pathologists for evaluation. This gives us the diagnosis upwards of 80% of the time. This is much more commonly performed at The Denver Clinic and we have had excellent results without going to open biopsy.
There are times when open biopsy is necessary. If the mass is difficult to feel or identify by palpation, or if the mass lies close to major nerves or blood vessels, then quite often we will opt to perform open biopsy. Open biopsy is also used when previous needle biopsies have failed to give a diagnosis.
Needle biopsy can also be done using x-ray guidance. For masses in difficult to reach places, we have a team of interventional radiologists with The Denver Clinic who specialize in the use of CT ("Cat Scan") and ultrasound technology to better guide the placement of the needle during the biopsy.
Identifying the tumor is the first step towards developing a treatment plan. Once we have the diagnosis in hand, we can then move forward with the appropriate testing, x-rays, and/or referrals as needed.
|Malignant Extremity Tumors|
|Benign Extremity Tumors|
|Soft Tissue Sarcoma|
|Metastatic Bone Disease|
|Conrad J. Tirre, MD|
Dr. Conrad Tirre is a plastic surgeon with the extremity tumor program. He completed his fellowship in plastic surgery at The University of Colorado Health Sciences Center. Because of the expertise he provides in reconstructive surgery following resection of extremity tumors, the extremity tumor program can offer limb-sparing reconstructive options.