Biopsy needle, London, England, 1980
A biopsy is a procedure where a small piece of tissue is removed from the body for study under the microscope. The exact position of the kidney can be determined using ultrasound to prevent unnecessary damage to the organ. Under a local anaesthetic this biopsy needle would then be inserted under the skin and into the kidney. The needle has a tapered end and is hollow so that tissue can be removed. A biopsy is normally the last test to be conducted to determine a patient’s problem once blood and urine tests have proved inconclusive.
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Glossary: biopsy needle
The taking of a tissue sample for microscopic analysis, in order to make a precise diagnosis.
Glossary: local anaesthetic
A drug that reduces or removes sensations from one area of the body.
Sounds above the upper human range of hearing (20,000 Hz). The word ‘ultrasound’ is often used to refer to medical sonography, which is an ultrasound-based imaging technique used to view the foetus during pregnancy.