How Long For Biopsy Results (And Why)?

Exact Answer: 2 To 3 Days

The first step to a diagnosis is a biopsy. A biopsy will typically take 2-3 weeks for the results to come back, but some cases can take up to six weeks. This blog post will explore what happens during a biopsy and how long the wait time is on average.

The time it takes for biopsy results to come back can vary depending on the type of test run. The most common types are needle aspiration, surgical biopsies, and endoscopic biopsies. Needle aspiration will take about a few days because it does not require surgery or anesthesia. 

How Long For Biopsy Results (And Why)?

TestDuration
Biopsy Result1 To 3 Days
Endoscopy Results5 Days

One can get results from a biopsy by 2 to 3 days after the biopsy. In many cases, however, the doctor will need 7 to 10 days to analyze it through a microscope under strict laboratory conditions before they’re able to give a diagnosis and prescribe medication.

In most cases, results show up within 24 hours of testing for an abnormal cell in the cells that line the bladder’s inner surface. 

Suppose the doctor suspects that the problem is coming from another area of the urinary tract or prostate gland. In that case, they might sit on those test results for half to three-quarters of the time given above so that they have time to order further diagnostic tests.

A surgical biopsy will take anywhere from two weeks to three months; this is due to healing time after the procedure and how busy the lab might be at any given time. 

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An endoscopic biopsy may take even longer than a surgical one because more recovery is needed for the patient who has undergone an endoscopy.

Anticipated wait time for results can be anywhere between 1-3 days, but it may be more or less depending on the institution. 

Given that an average of 3-4 samples is taken during a biopsy procedure, typically, one will come back with enough abnormal findings to determine the next step in the diagnosis. 

That is why testing for this disease usually takes longer than testing for many other diseases, not looking at multiple tissue slices.

Why Would Biopsy Results Take So Long?

The waiting game is the worst. For many medical diagnoses, at least one diagnostic test is required before the final diagnosis is made. During a biopsy, different methods are used depending on whether or not all information is available for making a specific diagnosis.

Needle aspiration would diagnose sarcoidosis because it can tell if lung tissue or lymph nodes contain this disease-causing agent quickly.

A fine-needle aspiration would be used to know how far tumor cells have invaded under the skin for breast cancer malignancy.

The difference in procedure reflects what information needs to be determined by testing before a final diagnosis occurs.  

The primary reason for the delay is that the pathologist has to complete a comprehensive report on each tissue sample.

The majority of study participants have been biopsied for other reasons, so they need to be re-biopsied. If necessary, a specialist would have to analyze the biopsy slides and send them back to pathology for assessment before delivery. 

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A period of weeks may pass from the first contact until results are received because determining what tests are needed can take some time. Sometimes, the delay is due to the requirement of large samples to process and examine more areas.

The reason can also be due to the pathologist’s requirement for a second opinion. Usually, an expert will do the chemical test by examining the cell samples under the microscope.

One should also remember that there are certain risks to undergoing a biopsy test although it is minor like an infection.

Conclusion

Patients should realize that sometimes biopsy samples will not be large enough to evaluate properly. The right amount of samples from different areas is what helps make a correct diagnosis. This way, it is extremely helpful in treating cancer from spreading to another part of the body.

Overall, if a person is experiencing certain signs and symptoms, it is better to visit the doctor and undergo a biopsy. It helps in determining whether the person has cancer or suffering from some other condition. Sample needs more to be analyzed, so expect results after a few days because it helps to guide the right treatment choices.

Reference

  1. https://pubs.rsna.org/doi/abs/10.1148/radiology.176.3.2167501 
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0190962215018125