A breast biopsy is a diagnostic procedure in which a sample of living tissue is removed with a tiny needle to be examined by a pathologist, a doctor specially trained in tissue identification. The sample of tissue is usually examined under a microscope to determine if it is healthy or if it shows any kind of disease or abnormality.
In many cases, the use of medical imaging such as MRI, mammography, or ultrasound is used to guide the doctor in performing the biopsy to help pinpoint the tissue, organ, or bone under observation.
We provide a full range of needle aspirations and core needle biopsy techniques. Guided by the latest mammography (stereotactic), ultrasound, and MRI technology, patients receive the highest level of comfort and precision during their exam.
Fine Needle Aspiration Biopsy
A fine needle aspiration biopsy is the simplest biopsy. It uses an extremely thin needle – thinner than the ones used for blood tests. Because the needle is so fine, this procedure is relatively painless. The physician inserts the needle into the lump and draws out fluid or a tissue sample. If clear fluid comes out, the lump is more likely to be a benign cyst rather than cancer. A pathologist will examine the fluid or tissue sample under a microscope to determine if cancer is present.
Core Needle Biopsy
A core needle biopsy uses a somewhat larger, hollow needle to remove tiny cylinders (cores) of tissue from the suspicious area. Core needle biopsies usually require a local anesthetic for your comfort. The needle is inserted a few times to obtain samples. While this procedure takes longer than a fine needle aspiration biopsy, it is more likely to give a definitive result because more samples of tissue were checked.
Do not take aspirin, ibuprofen, Advil, Motrin, or Aleve for one week prior to your appointment. If you take Coumadin, Plavix or any other blood thinners, you must get approval from your doctor to stop the medication one week prior to your biopsy. Also avoid fish oil and high doses of vitamins (except for prenatal vitamins).
On the day of the appointment, do not apply deodorant, perfume, cream, powder, or lotion on the breast or underarm areas. If possible, wear a full cup support bra or sports bra for after your exam and either a zipper or button-down top.