A Pancreatic biopsy is a test used to diagnose cancer in your pancreas. A small sample of cells from a tumor is removed for analysis. It can help doctors determine if a Pancreatic Tumor is cancer or not.

A biopsy is usually needed to confirm a pancreatic cancer diagnosis unless your doctor is very confident it’s cancer and surgically removable. It’s usually a safe procedure, but it does come with some risks, including serious bleeding

This article will look at what to expect during a Pancreatic biopsy.

The American Cancer Society estimates that about 62,210 people in the United States will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2022. Doctors use a combination of tests to diagnose pancreatic cancer, including imaging, blood tests, and biopsies.

A pancreatic biopsy is a procedure where a surgeon removes a small amount of pancreatic tissue to determine if a tumor is cancerous. Most pancreatic biopsies today are performed with nonsurgical methods.

Here is a look at the most common techniques.

Endoscopic biopsy

An endoscopic biopsy with ultrasound and fine needle aspiration (EUS-FNA) is the current standard of care for diagnosing pancreatic tumors.

A doctor passes a flexible tube with a camera down your throat and into your small intestines during a procedure. This tube is used for an exam.

Doctors then use ultrasound to help guide the endoscope to the correct location and take a small tissue sample with a thin needle.

Percutaneous biopsy

A percutaneous biopsy is performed through your skin. During this procedure, your doctor uses images from an ultrasound or computed tomography (CT) scan to guide a thin needle through your skin and into your pancreas.

Surgical biopsy

Pancreatic biopsies are not as common as they used to be. When your cancer may have spread beyond your pancreas, a doctor may want to perform a surgical biopsy of other organs as well.

The most common procedure is called laparoscopy or keyhole surgery. During this procedure, a doctor makes a small cut in your abdomen and inserts a thin tube called a laparoscope that contains a light and camera.

A doctor will give you instructions to follow to lower your chances of having a problem. It is important to tell them about your allergies and medications.

Your doctor may ask you to stop taking medications that impair your blood clotting or interact with sedatives. They’ll also likely ask you to stop the following 8 hours before your procedure:

  • smoking
  • drinking
  • eating
  • chewing gum

Depending on the type of biopsy you receive, your procedure will be different. Here is an idea of what you can expect.

  1. You will receive a sedative through an IV line in your arm to help you relax.
  2. You’ll be given a liquid or spray anesthetic to numb your throat and keep you from gagging. Some people may receive general anesthesia and remain unconscious through the procedure.
  3. Your doctor will feed the endoscope through your stomach and small intestines after you lie on the examination table.
  4. Your doctor will use an instrument to find the tumor.
  5. They will use a thin needle on the end of the scope to take a small tissue sample.

The major risks associated with endoscopic ultrasound-guided needle aspiration are:

  • excessive bleeding
  • A hole in your small intestines is needed to cut it.
  • It is an infectious disease
  • acute pancreatitis, or sudden inflammation of your pancreas

Complication rates vary between studies and types of biopsies but generally fall into the range of 0% to 2.5%. In a 2022 review of studies, researchers found that 4.7% of people in a group of 723 were hospitalized after EUS-FNB, but only 0.2% needed active treatment.

Needle tract seeding is another potential complication that has been reported. Needle tract seeding refers to the spread and implantation of cancer cells in other tissues. The risk during fine needle aspiration has been estimated between 0.003% and 0.009%.

Pancreatic biopsies are generally considered safe and have low rates of complications.

Bleeding is reported in less than 2% of people who undergo endoscopic fine needle aspiration and is usually minor and resolves by itself. Endoscopic hemostasis, where an endoscope is used to stop the bleeding, and blood transfusions are only required in 0% to 0.44% of cases.

There’s a very small risk of death, with studies reporting rates between approximately 0.1% and 0.8%. Death is usually related to bleeding, according to the studies.

EUS-FNA has become the gold standard for diagnosing pancreatic tumors. Studies have reported the accuracy of EUS-FNA from 77% to 95%. The accuracy has been improving in recent years due to improvements in technology.

In the 2022 study above, researchers found that the EUS-FNA was 85.6% accurate for cancerous samples and 88.3% for noncancerous.

You will need to stay at the hospital for a few hours after your procedure. It is important to have a drive arranged in advance because you will not be able to drive after your procedure. It is usually recommended that you rest at home.

Most people return to their normal activities within a couple of days. If you received an endoscope, you may have a sore throat for 1 or 2 days.

Most people receive the results of their biopsy within a few days to weeks. In some cases, results may be available right away.

Rest is important after your procedure to give your body time to recover.

If you have a sore throat, you can use an over-the-counter spray. gargling warm salty water is anywayanyday.

It is usually recommended to drink lots of fluids after a procedure.

Emergency medical attention is required for some of the problems. If you develop any of the emergency symptoms after your procedure, you should contact a doctor or emergency services.

A Pancreatic biopsy is needed to confirm a cancer diagnosis. The gold standard procedure is EUS-FNA. During EUS-FNA, doctors can take a tissue sample and a picture of your bicyle with an Ultrasonic tube down your throat.

There is a small risk of Pancreatic biopsies being wrong. Death is rare, but it is usually related to severe bleeding. Your doctor can give you more information about the procedure.