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A biopsy is a surgical procedure whereby a piece of living tissue is obtained for inspection and microscopic study. Probably the most common incidence of this procedure in children is the biopsy of a persistent or otherwise troublesome lymph node. Usually the entire node is removed under general anesthesia. Other less common biopsy procedures would include kidney, liver, or bone marrow biopsy. These tests are done by inserting a needle under local anesthesia and sedation into the organ in question and obtaining a core of tissue for microscopic study.
Biopsy is in distinction to autopsy or necropsy, which refer to doing the same thing for a deceased person to determine the exact illness or cause of death.