TODAY

TODAY   |  August 22, 2013

Beau Biden underwent ‘complicated’ biopsy

Vice President Joe Biden’s son Beau is expected to be released from Houston’s MD Anderson Cancer Center Thursday after undergoing a complicated brain biopsy. NBC’s chief medical editor Dr. Nancy Snyderman says she believes there’s no correlation to the aneurysm Joe Biden suffered in 1988.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> have new information on the health of vice president joe biden 's son, beau. he's expected to be discharged from a houston hospital after undergoing what's described as a successful procedure. nancy snyderman is here. we are speculating.

>> we are using our language in guarded waste.

>> he's expected to be discharged today. at least this tells us this was a diagnostic procedure as opposed to a treatment?

>> yes. we know he had a seizure several years ago. he has continued to have neurologic problems. was seen at northwestern hospital, then at a hospital in jefferson in philadelphia, then at md anderson . you put the pieces together and say, okay, it went from finding something to needing a diagnostic procedure. the word we got was that he underwent a complicated biopsy of a brain mass.

>> what would they be zmog what would the patient be going through during a complicated biopsy?

>> they're looking for tissue. once you see something on a ct scan that shouldn't be there, it's called a mass. it's taking up room. you have to figure out what it was. could this have any relationship to what joe biden went through 20 years later when he had two hemangiomas, when he had aneurysms that burst, and the answer is no.

>> this is an invasive procedure .

>> it is.

>> the vice president said it was successful. does that mean they got the tissue they were looking for and the patient came through okay?

>> when i heard the word successful, i hear no complications, resting well, discharged. when i hear complicated procedure, i think maybe a little bleeding, maybe not, but perhaps not getting all the tissue but a biopsy. whenever you go in to get tissue, you can get a little, you can get all of it, or sometimes you just have to figure out is it enough. in brain surgery , perfection is not the goal. good is the goal.

>> how long will it take to get results of a biopsy like this?

>> if this is an easy thing to read, it could be 48 hours . if this is a complicated thing to read and they send tissue out to various specialists across the country, it could be weeks. we send them our best.

>> nancy, thanks as always.

>> you bet.