Back biopsy: all you need to know

Do you know what a back biopsy is? What are its advantages and drawbacks? Learn the most important information about back biopsy in the following article.

Back biopsy: all you need to know

Doctors perform a back biopsy, which is also called a spinal tap, in the lower back. Find out more about a back biopsy, the causes of it, and its drawbacks by reading the following:

What is a back biopsy?

Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), which surrounds the brain and spinal cord, is collected and tested during a back biopsy by inserting a needle into the spinal canal.

Another name for a back biopsy is a lumbar puncture. This is because the needle is placed in the lumbar region of the back and is used to puncture the tissue in order to enter the spinal canal.

The fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord is frequently sampled using this biopsy. In order to properly diagnose conditions like meningitis, neurological disorders, or cancer, the fluid must be examined. Diseases can also be treated with a back biopsy. By administering antibiotics, cancer drugs, or anesthetic agents into the spinal canal.

Spinal fluid is also sometimes removed by back biopsy to reduce spinal fluid pressure in patients with uncommon conditions, such as benign intracranial hypertension.

What are the reasons for a back biopsy?

There are several reasons why this surgical procedure is used, in more detail as follows:

1. Diagnosis of diseases

Back biopsies are performed by doctors to check for a variety of conditions, including

  • the presence of abnormal cells, fungi, or bacteria.
  • Intracranial haemorrhage, or bleeding from the brain
  •  dementia
  • leukaemia or different cancers.
  • Meningitis.
  • Brain and spinal cord infections.
  • Autoimmune disorders.
  • Excess cerebrospinal fluid.

2. Treating diseases

They are used by doctors to treat a variety of conditions, including:

  • Using local anaesthesia, for instance, to block back pain from affecting the lower body, can help.
  • By injecting a dye, myelography allows for a diagnostic X-ray examination.
  • injections of either muscle relaxants or cancer treatments.
  • Reducing intracranial pressure.

What are the benefits of a back biopsy?

The cerebrospinal fluid samples are sent to a lab for evaluation following a back biopsy. A number of things are checked when the cerebrospinal fluid is examined, including:

  • general look 

Normal cerebrospinal fluid is clear and colourless, but if it is cloudy, yellow, or pink, that could be a sign of abnormal bleeding.

A high level of bilirubin or an infection may be indicated by the cerebrospinal fluid's green hue.

  • protein

A infection or another inflammatory condition may be indicated by elevated total protein levels of more than 45 milligrammes per deciliter.

  • White blood cells

Up to 5 white blood cells can typically be found in CSF per microliter, but higher numbers could signify an infection.

  • Blood sugar

An infection or another inflammatory condition may be indicated by a low level of glucose in the cerebrospinal fluid.

  • Microorganisms

An infection can be detected by the presence of bacteria, fungi, viruses, or other microorganisms.

  • cancer cells

Certain types of cancer may be detected by the cerebrospinal fluid having abnormal cells, such as tumours or immature blood cells.

What are the possible complications of a back biopsy?

Back biopsy side effects include:

  1. Bleeding from the biopsy site.
  2. Inflammation in the biopsy area.
  3. Damage to nerves or blood vessels in the biopsy area.
  4. Bone fracture.

If you experience pain, heat, swelling, or fluid leaking from the biopsy site, you should call your doctor right away.

When should you contact the doctor?

The pain usually subsides in a few days, and over-the-counter painkillers can help, but in the following situations, you should speak with your doctor right away:

  1. No improvement and severe pain.
  2. The presence of bloody secretions at the biopsy site.
  3. The occurrence of signs of infection, such as: fever ..

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