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Intestinal biopsy tube, London, England, 1954-1958

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A biopsy is a procedure where a small piece of tissue is removed from the body for study under a microscope. A small knife in a tiny capsule at the end of the tube, which measures over a metre long, is passed down into the digestive tract. X-rays are used to locate the area to be sampled. When suction is applied a small piece of the intestine is snipped off and the tube removed. The tissue is sent to a laboratory for further tests. The process allows an investigation of the body, without the need for a major surgical operation. Made by the Genito-Urinary Manufacturing Company, this is one of the first intestinal biopsy tubes ever made. Margot Shiner (1923-1993), a surgeon and paediatrician in the early 1950s, developed the technique of intestinal biopsy and used this very tube.

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    Glossary: intestinal biopsy tube

    No description.

    Glossary: coeliac disease

    A digestive intolerance of the small intestine to foods that contain gluten.

    Glossary: biopsy

    The taking of a tissue sample for microscopic analysis, in order to make a precise diagnosis.

    Glossary: x-rays

    A wave of electromagnetic radiation that has high energy and short wavelength. It is able to pass through many materials, except those of high density such as metals or bones. Discovered in 1895 by William Roentgen.