Endometrial Biopsy

Test Overview

An endometrial biopsy is a way for your doctor to take a small sample of the lining of the uterus (endometrium). The sample is looked at under a microscope for abnormal cells. An endometrial biopsy helps your doctor find problems in the endometrium.

An endometrial biopsy is sometimes done at the same time as another test, called hysteroscopy, which allows your doctor to look through a small lighted tube at the lining of the uterus.

Why It Is Done

An endometrial biopsy is done to check for abnormal cells in the lining of the uterus (endometrium). It checks for precancerous and cancerous cells. It may be done if you are at higher risk for uterine cancer or have symptoms of uterine cancer, such as abnormal bleeding from your uterus.

How To Prepare

  • If you take aspirin or some other blood thinner, ask your doctor if you should stop taking it before your test. Make sure that you understand exactly what your doctor wants you to do. These medicines increase the risk of bleeding.
  • Ask your doctor if you should take a pain reliever, such as ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin), 30 to 60 minutes before the test. This can help reduce any cramping pain that the test can cause.

How It Is Done

The biopsy can be done in your doctor's office.

You may be told to empty your bladder just before the test.

You will need to take off your clothes below the waist. You will be given a covering to drape around your waist. You will then lie on your back on an examination table with your feet and legs supported by footrests.

Your doctor may do a bimanual pelvic exam first. This is done so the doctor can feel where and how large the pelvic organs are. Then the doctor will place a tool called a speculum into your vagina. It opens the vagina a little bit so your doctor can see the cervix and inside the vagina.

Your cervix may be numbed with a spray or injection of local anesthetic.

The tube to collect the sample is guided through the cervix into the uterus. The tool may be moved up and down to collect the sample.

How long the test takes

The test will take about 5 to 15 minutes.

How It Feels

You may feel cramping as the tube is guided through your cervix and when the biopsy sample is collected. It may feel like a menstrual cramp.

Risks

There is a small chance that the cervix or uterus could be punctured during the biopsy. Bleeding or a pelvic infection is also possible.

Results

Lab results from a biopsy may take several days to get back.

Endometrial biopsy

Normal:

No abnormal cells or cancer is found.

Abnormal:

A noncancerous (benign) growth, called a polyp, is present.

Overgrowth of the lining of the uterus (endometrial hyperplasia) is present.

Cancer or cell changes that may lead to cancer are present.

Credits

Current as of: November 22, 2021

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
Sarah Marshall MD - Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine
E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine
Femi Olatunbosun MB, FRCSC - Obstetrics and Gynecology

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This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated, disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. Learn how we develop our content.