Main AHCA Website

AHCA’s main website for information on Medicaid, Health Quality Assurance and the Florida Center for Health Information and Transparency.

Go >

Florida Health Information Network

This website provides information and resources relating to AHCA’s initiatives for Health Information Technology and Health Information Exchange.

Go >

Provides health education and information to compare and locate health care providers in Florida to make well-informed health care decisions.

Go >
AHCA Network of Websites

Health Education

Health Encyclopedia

Search the Health Encyclopedia

Biopsy - polyps


A polyp biopsy is a test that takes a sample of, or removes polyps (abnormal growths) for examination.

Alternative Names

Polyp biopsy

How the Test is Performed

Polyps are growths of tissue that may be attached by a stalk-like structure (a pedicle). Polyps are commonly found in organs with many blood vessels. Such organs include the uterus, colon, and nose.

Some polyps are cancerous (malignant) and the cancer cells are likely to spread. Most polyps are noncancerous (benign). The most common site of polyps that are treated is the colon.

How a polyp biopsy is done depends on the location:

For areas of the body that can be seen or where the polyp can be felt, a numbing medicine is applied to the skin. Then a small piece of the tissue that appears to be abnormal is removed. This tissue is sent to a laboratory. There, it is tested to see if it is cancerous.

How to Prepare for the Test

If the biopsy is in the nose or another surface that is open or can be seen, no special preparation is needed. Your health care provider will tell you if you need to not eat or drink anything (fast) before the biopsy.

More preparation is needed for biopsies inside the body. For example, if you have a biopsy of the stomach, you should not eat anything for several hours before the procedure. If you are having a colonoscopy, a solution to clean your bowels is needed before the procedure.

Follow your provider's preparation instructions exactly.

How the Test will Feel

For polyps on the skin surface, you may feel tugging while the biopsy sample is being taken. After the numbing medicine wears off, the area may be sore for a few days.

Biopsies of polyps inside the body are done during procedures such as EGD or colonoscopy. Usually, you will not feel anything during or after the biopsy.

Why the Test is Performed

The test is done to determine if the growth is cancerous (malignant). The procedure may also be done to relieve symptoms, such as with the removal of nasal polyps.

Normal Results

Examination of the biopsy sample shows the polyp to be benign (not cancerous).

What Abnormal Results Mean

Cancer cells are present and may be a sign of a cancerous tumor. Further tests may be needed. Often, the polyp may be removed.


Risks include:

  • Bleeding
  • Hole (perforation) in organ
  • Infection


Lentz G. Endoscopy: hysteroscopy and laparoscopy. In: Lentz GM, Lobo RA, Gershenson DM, Katz VL, eds. Comprehensive Gynecology. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Mosby; 2012:chap 10.

Samlan RA, Kundak M. Visualization of the larynx. In: Flint PW, Haughey BH, Lund VJ, et al., eds. Cummings Otolaryngology: Head & Neck Surgery. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Mosby; 2015:chap 55.

Soetikno R, Kaltenbach T, Friedland S, Matsuda T. Colonoscopic polypectomy, mucosal resection, and submucosal resection. In: Ginsberg GG, Gostout CJ, Kochman ML, Norton ID. Clinical Gastrointestinal Endoscopy. 2nd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2012:chap 36.

Review Date:2/2/2015
Reviewed By:Denis Hadjiliadis, MD, MHS, Paul F. Harron Jr. Associate Professor of Medicine, Pulmonary, Allergy, and Critical Care, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997-A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

The Agency for Health Care Administration (Agency) and this website do not claim the information on, or referred to by, this site is error free. This site may include links to websites of other government agencies or private groups. Our Agency and this website do not control such sites and are not responsible for their content. Reference to or links to any other group, product, service, or information does not mean our Agency or this website approves of that group, product, service, or information.

Additionally, while health information provided through this website may be a valuable resource for the public, it is not designed to offer medical advice. Talk with your doctor about medical care questions you may have.

Outcome Data

No data available for this condition/procedure.

Read More

Health Encyclopedia

More Features

We Appreciate Your Feedback
1. Did you find this information useful?

2. Would you recommend this website to family and friends?