Stereotactic biopsy may be used if the suspicious area cannot be felt or if it is very small on your mammogram. Two X-ray images of the breast tissue are taken at different angles to locate the area of concern. During this procedure, you will lie on your stomach. Your breast will rest in a padded hole in the table lined-up with the imaging unit beneath. Your breast will be slightly compressed, similar to your mammogram. The skin will be cleansed and then numbed with local anesthetic. The needle is then placed and samples are removed. The incision is closed with small strips of tape then covered with a band-aid. This procedure generally takes about one hour.
Ultrasound Guided Breast Biopsy
An ultrasound guided breast biopsy is often conducted when a lump has been found that is relatively small, close to the chest wall or has been observed through mammography but cannot be felt by a physician. During this procedure, you will lie on your back. The ultrasound probe is used to locate the area of concern. The skin will be cleansed and then numbed with local anesthetic. The physician will use ultrasound imaging to guide the biopsy needle to the area of concern and samples will be taken. The incision is closed with small strips of tape then covered with a band-aid. This procedure generally takes about 1 ½ hours.
Fine Needle Aspiration
A fine-needle aspiration is a biopsy technique that can be used to sample cells of lumps that can be felt. Whether the lump is a fluid-filled cyst or a solid mass, a fine needle aspiration can be conducted. A very thin needle is placed into the lump and fluid or cells are removed. Clear fluid may be discarded and cells from a solid mass are checked in a lab. There are no scars with this procedure and any bruising or pain should go away quickly.
A tru-cut biopsy may be an option when the surgeon can feel the location of the breast lump. The area is numbed and biopsied in the surgical office. The specimen is then sent to the lab for analysis.
Open Surgical Biopsy
Your surgeon may recommend an open surgical biopsy. This technique removes either a sample of tissue or in some cases the whole area of concern from your breast. This procedure is completed in a hospital surgical suite with anesthesia provided on an outpatient basis.
Needle Localization Surgical Breast Biopsy
For some surgical biopsies, needle localization is required. This occurs when the breast irregularity cannot be felt or is difficult to locate. Either by mammography or ultrasound technique, the needle is placed to identify the location of the biopsy area. The area where the needle is placed will be numbed prior to insertion. Once this is complete, you will be transferred to the operating room for the open surgical biopsy.
After the biopsy is completed
The sample is submitted to the pathologist for evaluation. Your health care provider will review the biopsy results with you, discuss the findings and explain the recommended plan of care.