A biopsy is a surgical procedure in which a piece of tissue from an area of suspected to be cancerous is removed from the body for examination under a microscope. Hodgkin’s Lymphoma is diagnosed by looking for the characteristics of this disease in various bodily tissues, especially in the lymph nodes. The information provided by this tissue sample is crucial to diagnosing and treating Lymphoma.
There are several types of biopsies:
Core Biopsy, also called Needle Biopsy, in which a needle is inserted into a lymph node suspected of being cancerous and a small sample of tissue is removed. This type of biopsy can be done under local anesthesia and stitches are usually not required. Usually, such biopsies are not appropriate for the diagnosis of lymphoma.
Open Biopsy, also called a Surgical Biopsy, in which an entire abnormal lymph node is removed. This procedure can usually be done under local anesthesia, but a general (that is, whole body) anesthetic may sometimes be needed and a few stitches are often required.
After a tissue sample has been removed, it is examined by a pathologist, who is a doctor who specializes in the study of tissues and cells to identify diseases. Pathologists look at the sample tissue under a microscope and then provide a detailed report of their findings. If the pathologist’s interpretation of the biopsy is uncertain, then further tests may be required.