Should an abnormality be found in your breast, it may be determined that you need to have a biopsy. There are several different types of biopsies:
A stereotactic needle biopsy is a newer method used when the physician cannot feel the lump that was found on a mammogram. A Stereotactic Biopsy uses mammographic images and computer technology and combines them to determine the exact location of an abnormality to obtain a sample of breast tissue. In this way, non-surgical techniques are used to determine whether an abnormality is cancerous. This procedure is equally as accurate as surgical biopsy, without the scar and anesthetic risks of surgery.
The patient lies face down on a special table with an opening for the breast. Using special equipment, the breast is gently compressed and X-rayed from several angles. The data is entered into a computer, which accurately determines the location of the abnormality to within less than 1 mm. The radiologist then uses a needle to obtain sample the area for evaluation. There are no stitches or IV, and most patients tolerate the procedure very well. In fact, often women are able to return to work immediately after.
After the tissue is obtained it is examined by the pathologist and a diagnosis is made. It is important to remember that 80percent of breast biopsies result in a benign (not cancerous) finding.
Fine Needle Aspiration
Fine needle aspiration involves inserting a very fine, hollow needle into a cyst to remove some fluid or tissue for examination by a pathologist.
Core Needle Biopsy
Core needle biopsy utilizes a needle inserted into the breast mass to remove tissue for examination. This is often done with ultrasound guidance to accurately target the lesion in the breast.
An ultrasound-guided biopsy uses ultrasound to identify and accurately target the abnormality and obtain a sample of tissue. These procedures are virtually painless and essentially leave no visible scar. They also use no radiation.