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Biopsy - biliary tract

Definition

Alternative Names

Cytology analysis - biliary tract; Biliary tract biopsy

How the Test is Performed

Your doctor can take a sample for a biliary tract biopsy in different ways.

A needle biopsy can be done if you have a well-defined tumor.

  • The biopsy site is cleaned.
  • A thin needle is inserted into the area to be tested, and a sample of cells and fluid are removed.
  • The needle is then removed.
  • Pressure is put on the area to stop any bleeding. The site will be covered with a bandage.

If you have a narrowing or blockage of the bile or pancreatic ducts, a sample can be taken during procedures such as:

  • Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP)
  • Percutaneous transhepatic cholangiogram (PTCA)

How to Prepare for the Test

How the Test will Feel

Why the Test is Performed

A biliary tract biopsy can determine if a tumor started in the liver or spread from another location. It also can determine if the tumor is cancerous.

This test may be done:

  • After a doctor's examination, x-ray, MRI, CT scan, or ultrasound shows abnormal growths in your biliary tract
  • To test for diseases or infection

Normal Results

A normal result means there are no signs of cancer, disease, or infection in the biopsy sample.

What Abnormal Results Mean

Abnormal results may be due to:

Risks

Risks depend on how the biopsy sample was taken.

Risks may include:

  • Bleeding at the biopsy site
  • Infection

References


Review Date: 1/22/2013
Reviewed By: George F. Longstreth, MD, Department of Gastroenterology, Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program, San Diego, California. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
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