In a skin biopsy, the area to be biopsied is numbed with a local anesthetic and thoroughly cleaned. Then a small piece of tissue is cut away using a sterile scalpel. Finally, the small wound is stitched closed.
In a needle biopsy, the biopsy area is numbed and cleaned, and a sterile hollow needle is inserted through the skin to take the sample.
In an endoscopic biopsy, a small sharp pinching instrument (forceps) at the end of the endoscope is used to snip off and remove a small tissue sample.
In an open biopsy under general anesthesia, a sample of tissue can be cut directly from an organ that has been exposed with a surgical incision.