What is the difference between a medical LP and a biopsy

The terms “medical puncture” or LP and “biopsy” are used to refer to certain medical procedures. Many people confuse the terms or think they are interchangeable. What is really meant in each case? We tell you about that below.

Such a procedure involves a puncture, carried out in the desired part of the body with a specially arranged, hollow needle. The object of action can be a certain organ, a cavity or a blood vessel. Puncture is used for different purposes. One of them is related to diagnostics. In this case it is possible to remove biological material from the body (in small quantities), the study of which helps identify the disease. Sometimes special staining agents are injected into the examined area by means of a puncture, which is necessary in some situations to perform X-ray diagnostics.

difference between a medical LP and a biopsy

Puncture is also used as a therapeutic method. For example, it allows you to deliver medicine directly to the problem area. In addition, it is a way to drain pathological fluid or air that has accumulated somewhere in the body, as well as to do irrigation.


Here we are talking specifically about taking certain biological material. The next step is a thorough examination of the extracted tissue or its individual structural units – cells. Then the diagnosis is made, or the absence of disease is confirmed. Biopsy is indispensable when other, easier ways in this regard are not informative enough.

The named method is necessarily used if there is a possibility of cancer. According to the fragments withdrawn from the body, you can determine whether the fears are justified. And if pathology is detected, the degree of its development and the nature of the formation are established. Based on the data obtained, a treatment tactic is selected.

During the specified procedure, the material can be extracted in different ways. Thus, swabbing is an example of a superficial biopsy. In other cases, the substance for the study is taken with forceps or a needle. If necessary, the biopsy is performed concomitantly with the surgery.

Puncture Biopsy

In this case, the terms under consideration overlap. What is meant here is exactly the variant when the extraction is performed through a puncture. In addition to the information already provided on this subject, we should note that needles for the manipulation are used differently. It depends on the purpose pursued. When taking a liquid, needles of small diameter are used, and tissue samples are extracted with a larger tool.

Puncture biopsy is particularly convenient when it is necessary to examine material close to the surface of the body, say, in the area of the breast or thyroid gland. However, it is also possible to perform biopsies of more deeply hidden organs, such as the liver. A simultaneous fluoroscopy or ultrasound scan helps to bring the needle accurately to the right point.

The procedure described should not frighten the patient. It is usually easily tolerated. The puncture is often preceded by “freezing” of the area where the needle will be inserted. The puncture site does not usually leave any traces of the intervention.

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