Breast Biopsy

An abnormal mammogram or lump in your breast will almost always need further investigation. Your doctor may order what’s called a breast biopsy.

An ultrasound guided core needle biopsy is a procedure where a physician uses a hollow needle to take breast tissue samples directed by ultrasound. The tissue is then sent to a pathologist that examines the tissue under a microscope to determine whether there is cancer or any abnormal cells. Every patient is nervous, but it’s important to note that over two thirds of biopsies performed lead to benign diagnosis and not cancer

The biopsy is an outpatient procedure generally performed in the doctor’s office. You will be given a gown and asked to undress from the waist up. The biopsy site will be cleaned and injected with an anesthetic. Once the area is numb the doctor will take the sample. Often times the physician will make a small incision. The biopsy needle is then inserted and several samples are obtained. The procedure often takes just a few minutes. During the procedure you may feel pressure but should not notice anything sharp or painful. Once the sample is removed, the incision will be bandaged and the tissue sent to the lab for examination. The biopsy site may be tender for a couple of days. Make sure you notify your doctor if you experience fever, chills, redness, swelling, bleeding, or increased pain at the site.

Women should refrain from heavy lifting or strenuous activity for 48 hours. You can return immediately to normal activity. Biopsy results are generally available 1 to 4 days following the procedure. You will be called with the results.

Stereotactic Breast Biopsy

A stereotactic guided biopsy uses a mammogram to help locate an abnormality that needs to be sampled. It’s typically used when something is spotted on a mammogram but can’t be picked up on an ultrasound.

For this procedure, you will be asked to uncover the breast. You will lie face-down on the biopsy table or possibly sit in the upright unit. Your breast will be numbed and then held in place while the biopsy is performed.

The doctor may make a small cut at the area that needs to be biopsied. Special mammographic images will be used to locate the area and several samples will be taken. A metal clip will be left behind in order to identify the area that was sampled.

Once the procedure is complete, a bandage will be applied to the site – the samples will be sent to the lab and you will be given an ice pack to control the swelling.