If your mammogram and/or ultrasound shows an abnormality, a breast biopsy may be required to definitively characterize the finding. This can be done using ultrasound or mammographic (stereotactic) guidance. During the procedure, a needle is directed into the area of concern and a small piece of tissue is taken. This tissue sample is sent to the lab to evaluate the tissue under the microscope. This procedure is done by a Radiologist with the assistance of a mammographic or ultrasound technologist.
Ultrasound Guided Breast Biopsy
Ultrasound guided breast biopsies are the most common type of biopsy done. This is done on lesions visible on ultrasound. These biopsies are done in the ultrasound department by a Radiologist with the assistance of an ultrasound technologist. You will be lying down comfortably and awake for the procedure. Local freezing, similar to that used by at the dentist, is used to freeze the skin and breast tissue. The needle is directed into the area of concern using ultrasound guidance.
Stereotactic Core Biopsy
Abnormalities only detected on a mammogram will require a mammographic or stereotactic biopsy. Often small (micro) calcifications are biopsied by this technique. This biopsy is done by a Radiologist with the assistance of a mammography technologist.
Fine Needle Aspiration Biopsy
A fine needle aspiration biopsy (FNA) is usually done on a cyst or cystic lesion. This can be done to reduce symptoms (i.e. pain) form a cyst or to assess the fluid and cells in the cyst. Occasionally this type of biopsy is done on a solid lesion. This type of biopsy is done with a small needle with the fluid and cells sent to the lab for analysis. Local freezing is used for this procedure and is usually done with ultrasound guidance. This procedure is done by a Radiologist with the assistance of an ultrasound technologist.
Pre-operative Needle Localization Biopsy
Before surgery, you may need a pre-operative localization procedure. During this procedure, the Radiologist will place a small wire through the lesion in your breast, so that the surgeon can locate the lesion during surgery. This procedure can be done under mammogram or ultrasound guidance using local freezing.