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Abdominal wall fat pad biopsy



An abdominal wall fat pad biopsy is the removal of a small part of the abdominal wall fat pad. The procedure is done most often to test for amyloidosis.

Alternative Names

Abdominal wall biopsy; Biopsy - abdominal wall fat pad

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.

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

In the case of amyloidosis, abnormal results will indicate the presence of amyloid, an insoluble protein fiber that impairs organ and tissue function.

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.

Special considerations


Buxbaum JN. The amyloidoses. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 296.

Review Date: 2/23/2009
Reviewed By: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
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