Biopsy is the act of obtaining small piece of tissue from a lesion. This piece of tissue serves as a representative sample and determines if a lesion is normal, dysplasia, or cancer.
Biopsy of the throat traditionally has been performed in the operating room under general anesthesia. However, with improvements in technology, throat biopsies can be performed with a patient awake in an examination room.
Procedures performed in office date back to the 19th century. This is a diagram illustrating removal of a polyp on a patient who is awake. The surgeon is using the reflectin of a mirror to guide manipulation of the surgical instruments. Now, with the aid of high defintion cameras and tool, procedures can be performed in the office, recorded, and viewed without need for an IV or sedation.
This minimally invasive technique centers on the use of small flexible endoscopes that pass through a patient’s nose. The patient’s throat is numbed using a topical anesthetic such as lidocaine. Through a small channel on the endoscope a fine instrument is passed and used to grasp a piece of the tissue intended for biopsy. This procedure is usually painless and has very minimal risks.