A peritoneal biopsy is a diagnostic test that takes a sample of tissue from the peritoneum to see if it contains cancer cells.

The peritoneum is the lining that covers the organs in the tummy. During a biopsy, a small piece of tissue is removed so that it can be looked at under a microscope. Once the doctor has taken the biopsy, they will send it to the laboratory. A doctor who specialises in examining cells (pathologist) will look at the biopsy.

A peritoneal biopsy can be done in two ways:

  • Laparoscopy – A laparoscopy allows the doctor to look at other areas in your tummy (abdomen) and take more biopsies if needed. This test is done under general anaesthetic. Your doctor will make a small cut in the tummy wall. They will put a thin tube with a light and camera at the end (laparoscope) into your tummy. They can then take a small biopsy of the peritoneum.
  • CT or ultrasound guided biopsy – The doctor will give you a local anaesthetic to numb the area. They will use an ultrasound or a CT scan to help guide them to the right place. Then, they will pass a special type of needle through your skin into the area they want to take a biopsy from. The needle has a tip that can cut out a sample of tissue. Having a biopsy can be uncomfortable but should not be painful. If you have any pain during or after the procedure, let your doctor or nurse know.
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