Breast Biopsy – Frequently Asked Questions

Breast Biopsy – Frequently Asked Questions

What is a nonsurgical breast biopsy?

A nonsurgical breast biopsy is a reliable, minimally invasive method used if areas of concern were detected by a mammogram, ultrasound or MRI.

How is it different from a surgical biopsy?

A surgical biopsy is more invasive and typically requires general anesthesia or heavy sedation, and a larger incision. A biopsy can be performed in our office under local anesthesia and involves a very small (1/4 inch or less) incision. Local anesthesia involves injection of a numbing agent directly into the breast tissue to block pain sensations. You will remain awake during the procedure. Most patients find the procedure involves only a brief sensation of pressure, and that it is over very quickly.

Will I have to modify my activities?

Other than common wound care instructions, which our staff will carefully review with you, your usual activities should not be impacted. We do not recommend activities, like running, that put a stress on the breast until the incision has healed, but most of our patients report minimal discomfort from the procedure.

Will I have a scar?

The incision is very small, and most women report that only they can find it after a few months. Our physicians approach most areas of concern from within the area covered by a bikini to achieve minimal, if any, cosmetic impact.

When will I get the results?

Usually within two days. We will call you when your pathology results are available.

What is ultrasound-guided breast biopsy?

Ultrasound-guided breast biopsy is an accurate way to sample a suspicious mass within the breast which is visible on ultrasound. The procedure prevents the need to surgically remove tissue and also eliminates the radiation exposure that comes from using x-rays to locate a mass. After placing an ultrasound probe over the site of the breast lump and using local anesthesia, the radiologist guides a biopsy needle directly into the mass.

What will I experience during the biopsy?

You will be awake during your biopsy and should have only mild discomfort. Generally, the biopsy is completed in less than an hour. It is not necessary to close the tiny skin incision with sutures or stitches; a small dressing will do. Most patients are able to resume their usual activities later the same day.

What is a stereotactic biopsy?

When an abnormality in the breast can be seen on the mammogram but not on ultrasound, the area can be localized for biopsy using a special technique called stereotaxis. You lay prone on a specialized biopsy table. Using mammography equipment and computer assistance the area of concern is localized. You are given local anesthesia and a biopsy needle is guided precisely to the tissue which is to be sampled.

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