A pancreatic biopsy is one test used to diagnose cancer within your pancreas. This procedure involves removing a small sample of cells from a tumor for lab analysis. It can help doctors figure out if a pancreatic tumor is cancerous and determine what type of cancer it is.
A biopsy is
This article will take a deeper look at what to expect during a pancreatic biopsy and potential complications.
A pancreatic biopsy is a procedure where a surgeon removes a small amount of pancreatic tissue to determine if a tumor is cancerous. Most pancreatic biopsies today are performed with nonsurgical methods.
Here’s a look at the most common techniques.
An endoscopic biopsy with ultrasound and fine needle aspiration (EUS-FNA) is the current
During this procedure, a doctor passes a long flexible tube with a camera down your throat and into your small intestines. This tube is called an endoscope.
Doctors then use ultrasound to help guide the endoscope to the correct location and take a small tissue sample with a thin needle.
A percutaneous biopsy is performed through your skin. During this procedure, your doctor uses images from an ultrasound or computed tomography (CT) scan to guide a thin needle through your skin and into your pancreas.
Pancreatic biopsies used to always be performed surgically, but now it’s uncommon. Surgical biopsies are usually performed when it’s thought your cancer may have spread beyond your pancreas and a doctor wants to examine or biopsy other organs as well.
The most common procedure is called laparoscopy or keyhole surgery. During this procedure, a doctor makes a small cut in your abdomen and inserts a thin tube called a laparoscope that contains a light and camera.
A doctor will give you specific instructions to follow before your procedure to lower your chances of complications. It’s important to tell them about any allergies you have or medications you’re currently taking.
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Your exact procedure will vary depending on what type of biopsy you receive. Here’s an idea of what you can expect for an EUS-FNA.
- You’ll receive a sedative through an intravenous (IV) line in your arm to help you stay relaxed.
- You’ll be given a liquid or spray anesthetic to numb your throat and keep you from gagging. Some people may receive general anesthesia and remain unconscious through the procedure.
- You’ll lie on the examination table, and your doctor will feed the endoscope down your throat and through your stomach and small intestines.
- Your doctor will then use an ultrasound to find the tumor.
- They’ll take a small tissue sample using a thin needle on the endoscope.
- excessive bleeding
- cutting a hole in your small intestines
- acute pancreatitis, or sudden inflammation of your pancreas
Complication rates vary between studies and types of biopsies but generally fall into the range of
Needle tract seeding is another potential complication that has been reported. Needle tract seeding refers to the spread and implantation of cancer cells in other tissues. The risk during fine needle aspiration has been estimated between
Pancreatic biopsies are
Bleeding is reported in less than
There’s a very small risk of death, with studies reporting rates between approximately
EUS-FNA has become the
In the 2022
You’ll likely need to stay at the hospital for a few hours after your procedure until your sedative wears off. You won’t be able to drive after your procedure, so it’s important to have a drive arranged in advance. It’s usually recommended that you spend the rest of the day at home resting.
Most people return to their normal activities within a couple of days. If you received an endoscope, you may have a sore throat for
Most people receive the results of their biopsy within a few days to weeks. In some cases, results may be available right away.
Rest is important after your procedure to give your body a chance to recover.
You can use an over-the-counter pain-relieving spray the day after your procedure if you have a sore throat. Alternatively, you can try cough drops or gargling warm salty water.
It’s usually recommended to drink plenty of fluids after your procedure.
Some complications require emergency medical attention. It’s important to contact a doctor or local emergency services if you develop any of the following emergency symptoms after your procedure:
A pancreatic biopsy is usually needed to confirm a cancer diagnosis. EUS-FNA is the gold standard procedure. During EUS-FNA, doctors insert a thin tube down your throat with an ultrasound that can produce a picture of your digestive tract and a needle to take a tissue sample.
Pancreatic biopsies are usually safe, but there’s a small risk of complications. Death is rare, but when it happens, it’s usually related to severe bleeding. Your doctor can give your more information about what to expect from your specific procedure.