X-Rays And Biopsy: Tests To Confirm Your Headache

X-rays are a form of electromagnetic radiation blocked by dense structures like bones and partially blocked by muscles and tissues. These are made to pass through the body and the results are obtained on a sensitive film. These have been used since a long time as an imaging procedure and form the basis for more and newer forms of diagnostic tests like CT scan, MRI, PET scan and mammography.

X-rays are a popular test as they are absolutely pain-free. The patient may sometimes be asked to assume uncomfortable positions to get x-rays from multiple angles but that is just about the only discomfort faced. The patient is required to remove all jewelry and clothing and instead wear a hospital gown provided by the radiology department. However, if the x-ray being conducted is of exposed parts of the body like the head, then only jewelry or any other adornment worn is asked to be removed.

Do inform the radiologist beforehand if, you are pregnant or using an intrauterine device or any other form of birth control.

A biopsy or a tissue sampling is performed when there is a possibility of the person having a brain tumor. It is the surest way to diagnose a brain tumor. This is necessary as it points towards the presence (or absence) of a cancer.

In this procedure, a part of the tissue is removed with the help of a needle and examined under the microscope for the presence of abnormal cells.The biopsy may be performed in three ways:-

Needle biopsy:
Needle biopsy is when a small incision is made in the skull and a part of the tumor is removed with a needle.

Stereotactic biopsy:
Stereotactic biopsy is when an imaging device like a CT scan or MRI is used to guide the doctor's needle into the incision that he has created on the skull. The needle is then used to extract a part of the diseased tissue.

Biopsy at the time of surgery:
Biopsy at the time of surgery means that the doctor takes a sample of the diseased tissue at the time of surgery itself.

Sometimes, if the tumor is located in such an area of the brain where inserting a needle is just not possible, like for example, the brain stem, then in that case, imaging techniques like MRI or CT scan may have to be resorted to.

When going for a biopsy, do check with your physician what medications should be avoided by you. Certain medications like aspirin or coumadin may predispose you to bleeding. Also mention any herbal preparations that you may be taking.