The Consultant Histologists will examine both the biopsy and the excised lump.
Unlike other tumours, such as those of the head and neck or breast, FNAC (Fine Needle Aspiration Cytology) is inappropriate in sarcomas.
The best biopsy is a Core Biopsy. As the name suggests this provides the Histologist with a core of tissue so that he can assess the cells and the architecture of the tissue being investigated.
Unfortunately core biopsies take a few days to analyse (unlike FNA cytology which can often be performed on the same day) on occasions specialist stains have to be requested. These may take up to a week to give an answer.
It is therefore common to have to wait up to a week to get a result following a biopsy.
Once the Histologist has the main specimen he will check that it has been completely excised by looking at samples of all the margins under the microscope.
He will also check that the entire specimen matches that which was expected from the initial biopsy result, (the biopsy is only a sample of the main lump but hopefully represents the whole lump's characteristics).
On occasions the tumour's grade may be increased once the whole specimen has been examined.