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Updated October 20, 2009

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Definition: the removal of a small amount of tissue, which can then be microscopically studied to screen for cancer or other diseases. There are several types of biopsies and they can be done on an outpatient or surgical basis. For example, minor skin lesion biopsies can be performed in an outpatient setting, while more invasive biopsies, as in diagnosing ovarian masses, require surgery.
Pronunciation: BY-op-see
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