Biopsy - abdominal wall fat pad

Alternative names
Abdominal wall biopsy; Abdominal wall fat pad biopsy

This procedure involves removing a small portion of the abdominal wall “fat pad.” The procedure is done most often to test for amyloidosis.

How the test is performed
Needle aspiration is the most common method of obtaining an abdominal wall fat pad biopsy. The skin of the abdomen is cleansed, and a local anesthetic may be used to numb the area. A needle is inserted through the skin and into the fat pad under the skin. A small “core” of the fat pad is removed with the needle and sent to the laboratory for analysis.

How to prepare for the test
No special preparation is usually necessary.

Infants and children:
The physical and psychological preparation a parent can provide for this or any test or procedure depends on the child’s age, interests, previous experiences, and level of trust. For specific information regarding how you can prepare your child, see the following topics as they correspond to your child’s age:

How the test will feel
Although your health care provider may have numbed the skin, there can be some mild discomfort or pressure during the needle insertion. Afterward, the area may feel tender or bruised for several days.

Why the test is performed
This test may be performed when amyloidosis is suspected.

Normal Values
The fat pad tissues are normal.

What abnormal results mean
Amyloidosis is the disease most frequently diagnosed by this test.

What the risks are
The risks are minimal. There is a slight risk of infection. There is also a minor risk of bruising or slight bleeding.

Johns Hopkins patient information

Last revised: December 8, 2012
by Brenda A. Kuper, M.D.

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