Biopsy

We understand that waiting for the results of a biopsy is stressful.  Ultrasound Guided Biopsies are performed in our office, and in most instances, the same day/visit as when the suspicious mass is found.  You will receive your results in 24 hours. 

Core needle biopsy uses a hollow needle to remove samples of tissue from the breast. It’s the standard way to diagnose (or rule out) breast cancer.

A pathologist studies these samples under a microscope to see if they contain cancer. If they do, more tests will be done to help plan your treatment.

Core needle biopsy can be used for a:

  • Lump that can be felt (palpable mass)

  • Suspicious area that can only be seen on a mammogram or other imaging test (nonpalpable abnormal finding)

Core needle biopsy for a palpable mass

If a lump can be felt, a core needle biopsy may be done in a health care provider's office.

Before the procedure begins, your provider will use a small amount of local anesthetic to numb the skin and breast tissue around the suspicious area.

Your provider will then insert the needle and remove a small amount of tissue.

During a core needle biopsy, a clip may be placed inside the breast (you cannot feel it) to mark the location of the lump. The clip makes the lump easier to find if surgery is needed.

If the biopsy shows cancer, the clip will be removed during your breast surgery. If surgery is not needed (the biopsy shows no cancer), it’s safe to leave the clip in the breast.

Core needle biopsy for a nonpalpable abnormal finding

For a nonpalpable abnormal finding (such as a mass or microcalcifications), a core needle biopsy is slightly more involved. It’s done in a hospital or imaging center.

Your health care provider will use images from a breast ultrasound, breast MRI or a special type of mammography (called stereotactic mammography) to guide the needle to the suspicious area.

When the suspicious area can be seen on a breast ultrasound, breast ultrasound-guided biopsy is usually the preferred method.

During a core needle biopsy, a clip may be placed inside the breast (you cannot feel it) to mark the location of the suspicious area. The clip makes the suspicious area easier to find if surgery is needed.

If the biopsy shows cancer, the clip will be removed during your breast surgery. If surgery is not needed (the biopsy shows no cancer), it’s safe to leave the clip in the breast.

Core needle biopsy with breast ultrasound

During a core needle biopsy with breast ultrasound, you lie on your back.

Before the procedure, your health care provider will use a local anesthetic to numb the area.

Your provider will hold the ultrasound device against your breast to see the area. The ultrasound images help your provider guide the biopsy device to the suspicious area.

Your provider then removes a sample of tissue with the needle in the device. In some centers, this is done with a vacuum-assisted device. The needle is inserted and removed quickly.

You may feel a pushing and pulling sensation on your breast, which can cause some discomfort.

Fine Needle Aspiration (Fine Needle Biopsy)

Fine needle aspiration (also known as FNA or fine needle biopsy) removes cells from a suspicious lump in the breast. The needle used is thinner than in core needle biopsy.

Fine needle aspiration is only used for lumps that can be felt (palpable masses).

Although core needle biopsy is most often the first choice for palpable masses, fine needle aspiration is sometimes done as a quick way to sample a breast lump felt during a clinical breast exam.

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