Breast Biopsies Explained

mgbc_breast-biopsyA biopsy is needed when a suspicious abnormality is found that can’t be diagnosed with medical imaging alone. According to the American Cancer Society, most breast biopsy results are not cancer; however, it is still a nerve-wracking experience for most patients. Here, we explain some of the most common biopsy procedures and what you can expect.

Stereotactic Breast Biopsy

A stereotactic breast biopsy uses a special mammography machine to help pinpoint the specific abnormality within the breast. The patient lies face down on the table with the affected breast hanging through an opening in the table. Local anesthetic is then used to numb the appropriate site before a needle is inserted into the abnormality and a tissue sample is removed. A vacuum-assisted device may be used; it collects tissue samples from multiple areas during just one needle insertion.

Core Needle Biopsy

During a core needle biopsy, the radiologist will use ultrasound guidance to find the exact location of the mass.  Local anesthetic is used to numb the breast area.  The radiologist continues to use ultrasound to guide the insertion of the hollow core biopsy needle into the mass and obtain multiple samples of tissue.

Breast Cyst Aspirations

A cyst aspiration is performed to obtain a sample of fluid from a fluid-filled cyst. Patients lie on their back or side. Ultrasound-guidance is used to find the exact location of the cyst. Local anesthesia is given to numb the breast area then a needle is inserted to drain & obtain a sample of the fluid.  Cyst fluid is usually not sent for cytology unless it contains blood.

After the Procedure

These minimally invasive procedures carry very few risks and allow most patients to return to normal activities the same day or the following day.  We recommend avoiding any strenuous upper body activities for 24 hours to allow for uninterrupted healing time.  Most biopsies are completed within an hour and require no stitches. Results are usually available in 48 hours and our breast center patient navigator will call you with your results once pathology has been completed.

If you have questions about breast imaging or biopsies, please call the experts at The Breast Center of Maple Grove. Our experienced radiologists and staff can perform your exam in our relaxing and comfortable environment.