A breast biopsy is performed to investigate irregularities or abnormalities seen in the breast. The type of biopsy recommended will be based on the size, location and other characteristics of the abnormality. A Stereotactic biopsy and Ultrasound Guided Biopsies (Core Biopsy) are a minimally invasive non-surgical interventional breast biopsy that can be performed in an outpatient setting like The Breast Center of Maple Grove. Breast biopsies use x-ray or ultrasound imaging and special computer software to determine the exact location of the abnormality and provide guidance to the biopsy site to remove a sample of the breast tissue. The sample is sent to pathology and examined under a microscope for a diagnosis.
What to expect during the procedure?
- You will lie on a specially designed padded table on your stomach with your breast suspended through an opening in the table.
- The table will be raised and the Breast Radiologist and Technologist will work from below to perform the biopsy.
- Your breast will be compressed and images taken to locate the area of concern.
Ultrasound Guided Biopsy:
- Image-guided, minimally invasive procedures such as ultrasound-guided breast biopsy are most often performed by a specially trained radiologist.
- You will be positioned lying face up on the examination table or turned slightly to the side.
- Pressing the transducer to the breast, the sonographer or radiologist will locate the lesion.
- The radiologist, monitoring the lesion site with the ultrasound probe, will insert the needle and advance it directly into the mass.
Continue for Stereotatic or Ulrasound Guided Biopsy
- Your breast will be cleansed and the radiologist will inject some numbing medicine and make a small cut (nick) over the area to be biopsied so the needle can be inserted.
- The local anesthetic can be adjusted by the radiologist to alleviate any discomfort during the procedure. Let the staff know if you are uncomfortable.
- Images will be obtained to confirm that the needle tip is within the lesion before sampling the tissue.
- Small samples (specimens) of breast tissue will be taken through a needle.
- A very small surgical clip will be left in your breast post-procedure as a future identifier of the area. This cannot be felt, does not cause pain and will not interfere with MRI imaging or any surveillance devices (metal detector).
- A post procedure mammogram of the breast will be taken to confirm placement of the biopsy clip.
- Pressure will be applied to the biopsy site for a few minutes, a bandage is applied and cold/ice packs provided. No sutures (stiches) are needed.
- The tissue samples will be sent for pathology with the results typically obtained within 2-3 business days.
How Should I Prepare?
- There are no diet restrictions, you may eat and drink as usual.
- You may perform normal daily activities prior to the procedure.
- Take usual medications on exam day unless instructed not to.
- You may be advised to stop taking aspirin, blood thinner, or certain herbal supplements a few days prior to the procedure to decrease risk of bleeding.
- Do not wear any deodorant, lotion or powder underneath your arms or on your breast.
- Inform the staff if there is a chance of pregnancy or if you have any allergies, especially to anesthesia.
- You will be asked to remove everything from the waist up and will wear a gown that opens in the front.
- For your comfort, you may want to remove earrings and/or necklaces.
After the breast biopsy
You will be provided with full post biopsy instructions before your leave the facility.
Restrict activity for the first 24 hours – do not lift anything heavier than 2 lbs.
- No exercising for 1-2 days as tolerated
- No swimming for 3-5 days
- Use only acetaminophen (Tylenol) for discomfort, no ibuprofen (Motrin-Aleve).
- A sports bra may provide comfort for first 24 hours and hold the ice pack in place
- Apply Ice to the biopsy site
- Keep biopsy site dry for first 24 hours
What Are the Benefits and Risks?
The benefits of Breast Biopsy
- A stereotactic or ultrasound guided biopsy procedure is less invasive than a surgical biopsy, leaves little or no scarring and removes far less tissue than a surgical biopsy would
- The procedure costs less than a surgical biopsy and the results are just as accurate. Stereotactic or ultrasound guided biopsies can be performed in less than an hour as an outpatient procedure and very little recovery time is required
- A Stereotactic biopsy evaluates calcifications (calcium deposits) or tiny masses that are not visible with ultrasound
Risks you should be aware of:
Complications from a breast biopsy are rare but include:
- Bruising, swelling or a collection of blood at the biopsy site (hematoma)
- Infection – Any procedure where the skin is penetrated carries a risk of infection. Some lesions near the chest wall are difficult to target and may be better sampled with a surgical biopsy