Regional Gastrointestinal Consultants

Bowel Biopsy

Bowel Biopsy

WHAT IS A Bowel Biopsy

A bowel biopsy applies to both the large intestine, completed during a colonoscopy, and the small intestine completed during an endoscopy. A bowel biopsy is the extraction of a small tissue sample from the intestinal wall. In the case polyps or tumors are found during colonoscopy or other colorectal exam, and they are too big to be removed on the spot, it is very likely that your doctor will take small samples of the tissue and test it for cancer before ordering another test. Also, other biopsy procedures your gastroenterologist might order include liver biopsy, colon or stomach biopsies or biopsies of the small intestine.

The tissue samples taken with the biopsy is then sent to a pathology laboratory. In the laboratory, the pathologist, a doctor who specializes in diagnosing tissue samples using microscope. The two primary reasons biopsies are completed and tested are to diagnose diseases of intestinal lining, and test for the presence of cancer. Please, know that because a biopsy may be taken this does not indicate the presence of cancer, a biopsy is a diagnostic test that can produce several findings other than cancer, including normal health conditions.

What happens during a biopsy

When you are having a biopsy involving the large intestine this will be performed during a colonoscopy, therefore the same procedure events associated with a colonoscopy will apply, which you can read more on by following this link: colonoscopy. In contrast, if you are receiving a biopsy relative to the small intestine you will undergo an endoscopy so that the physician can gain access to the intestinal areas of interest for the biopsy. In this case, procedure events associated with a endoscopy will apply, which you can read more on by following this link: endoscopy.

To obtain a tissue sample, suction is applied to pull the tissue specimen into a container in the endoscope or colonoscopy. This method permits for larger biopsy samples from a greater area to be obtained. In contrast, polyp biopsy is usually done with a cutting device to sample parts of a larger growth, and in some cases samples may also be taken with a needle (aspiration or fine-needle aspiration biopsy). In both instance patients will not feel discomfort from bowel biopsies taken during an endoscopy or colonoscopy. Also, it is noteworthy to mention that if an unscheduled biopsy is required it will be completed during your endoscopy and colonoscopy, without any discomfort or feeling.

WHAT TO EXPECT when having an Bowel biopsy

First, when you arrive at our office you will be welcomed by our thoughtful staff and a dedicated team of experts that deliver personalize care. To add to your comfort level, we strive to keep the same physicians and nursing staff with the patient throughout all your appointments at the center. In this way, the staff gets to understand the patient’s concerns and conditions, and you get to know the persons taking care of you on a personal level.

Also, we strive to make your visit as hassle free as possible. We accurately schedule visits in advance, provide convenient onsite parking, and keep your waiting period to an absolute minimum. This is achieved by the fact that no emergency procedures are placed in front of your scheduled time (such as in most hospitals). Also, we do not double book patient appointments, when you are scheduled to be treated that time is assigned only to you.

When undergoing a bowel biopsy, this procedure is completed through the use of an endoscopy or colonoscopy, so the same procedural details apply here as with an endoscopy or colonoscopy visit.

  • Before any procedure our staff will meet with you to address any last-minute questions you may have.
  • If are going to have a small intestine biopsy, and therefore will undergo an endoscopy, you will need to not eat or drink anything after midnight of the eve of your procedure date. In the event that you are having a biopsy of the large intestine, and therefore will undergo a colonoscopy you will need to be on a clear liquid diet for 24 hours, and use a colo-prep kit about 12 hours before your scheduled appointment.
  • Prior to the procedure you will get changed into one our fresh medical gowns using our private restrooms, or a private patient changing area.
  • Once you have changed into the medical gown you will relax and laydown on a padded procedure gurney and you will be transported a short distance to our modern operating room.
  • In the operating room, you will meet with your gastroenterologist before your procedure to discuss the procedure, if you would like, and thereafter be administered sedation so that the procedure may commence.
    • When being sedated you will receive the highest quality anesthesia, administered by highly experienced professionals who will standby you monitoring your sedation throughout the entire procedure.
  • The procedure itself will take between 10 to 30 minutes.
  • After the procedure, you will be brought back into the post anesthesia recovery area where you will relax until the sedation has worn off.
    • After speaking with most patients about their procedure, patients universally comment (paraphrasing of course); “I remember getting changed, laying on the gurney, meeting with my doctor and waking up waiting for the procedure to start”. Once they find out the procedure was completed already, there is usually a couple chuckles they have with our staff.
  • With all that being said, once you are alert from your anesthesia, fully dressed and comfortable, you will meet with your physician to discuss the procedure results, before heading home.
    • A special note, because you will be sedated for the procedure, you will need to have someone to drive you home even after the sedation has initially worn off, though you may feel fine, your reflexes may be slower than usual until the anesthesia is completely out of your system which can take between 1 to 3 hours after the procedure.
  • Also, most patients can return to a normal eating habits immediately after an endoscopy or colonoscopy.

The most important thing to remember is not to worry! Our gastroenterologist are highly experienced physicians and we have completed thousands of biopsies, also we supply our gastroenterologist with only the best equipment to increase safety, as well as diagnostic and treatment effectiveness. Last, but certainly not least, please ask any questions you may have of your healthcare team, who will be there for you during and after your procedure, and all of whom are dedicated to ensure you receive the best care possible.


We recommend that people experiencing gastrointestinal symptoms do not attempt self-treatment. With many medications being available over the counter, and numerous do-it-yourself online unqualified remedy recommendation, it is natural to consider treating yourself but we highly recommend against this.

If you are experiencing gastrointestinal symptoms you may have a more significant issue than you would expect from the sometimes muted or infrequent symptom you may be experiencing. It is important to keep in mind that is you are having gastrointestinal symptoms or concerns it is best see a doctor to have those symptoms diagnosed and any conditions treated. Also, it is worth noting, that if health conditions do exist, the earlier they are diagnosed and treated, the greater the probability will be to successfully eliminate or manage a present condition, in fact successful outcomes will increase significantly with early detection.

If you have gastrointestinal concerns or are experiencing any gastrointestinal symptoms, please contact us promptly to schedule a consultation with a physician.


The information on this website is to provide general information. In no way, does any of the information provided reflect definitive medical advice and self-diagnoses should not be made based on information obtained online. It is important to consult a best in class physician regarding ANY and ALL symptoms or signs as it may a sign of a serious illness or condition. A thorough consultation and examination should ALWAYS be performed for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. Be sure to call a physician or call our office today at (215) 321-4700 to schedule a consultation.