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Breast Biopsy

Image Guided Needle Biopsy

Although Mammograms and breast ultrasound reliably reveal abnormalities in the breast, in some instances the Radiologist cannot determine whether a growth is malignant (cancerous) or benign (non-cancerous).  An imaged guided biopsy, which is less invasive than a open surgical biopsy, removes small samples of tissue for analysis by the pathologist.  This is used to determine if the growth is malignant or benign.

Ultrasound Guided Needle Biopsy

If a breast abnormality is seen by ultrasound, an ultrasound guided needle core biopsy can be performed using a specialized biopsy device. 

The biopsy device quickly advances a needle a short distance into the breast and obtains a small core of the tissue.  This procedure is generally painless and leaves no surgical scar.  The time spent in the Women’s Health Suite is approximately 1 to 1 ½ hours, as a health history and vital signs are also obtained.

After cleansing, the skin is numbed with a local anesthetic and small incision is made in order to introduce the biopsy needle into the breast.  While observing under ultrasound, the biopsy needle is advanced to the edge of the abnormality.  As the biopsy device is released, a click I heard and the tissue sample is obtained.  Several samples are obtained and sent to the pathologist for analysis.

A titanium clip will be placed in the breast to confirm the biopsy site.  Pressure will be held on the biopsy site to minimize bleeding and bruising.  Site will be dressed with a bandage and a follow up confirmation mammogram will be performed. 

Results will be relayed to the patient and/or primary care provider within 3 – 5 days.

Stereotactic Breast Biopsy

Stereotactic biopsies are often preferred by patients to open surgical biopsies because they are less invasive.  Rather than surgically removing the entire growth, stereotactic biopsies remove a small portion of the growth with the use of a hollow core needle.  This tissue can then be analyzed to determine if further intervention is needed.

Patients may be considered candidates for stereotactic biopsy if:
  - Mammograms reveal non-palpable abnormalities
  - Microcalcifications (clustered, new or increasing in number) exist or
  - Lesions show up on a mammogram but not on an ultrasound

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