Breast Biopsies

FamilyMammography alone is not always enough to determine if an abnormality is benign or malignant. Additional breast imaging tests such as ultrasound or MRI may also be utilized. If these tests are inconclusive, a breast biopsy may be performed to remove a sample of the suspect tissue in order to determine if it contains cancer cells. It is normal to feel nervous or frightened about having a biopsy.

However, it's important to know that the vast majority of breast biopsies do not turn out to be breast cancer. In fact, 80% of breast lumps or breast abnormalities are benign (non-cancerous). And despite your reservations, the results can provide peace of mind since breast biopsy is currently the only way to determine whether or not an abnormality is cancerous.

Breast Biopsy Options - There are many breast biopsy options available, ranging from an open surgical procedure to new minimally invasive techniques. The biopsy method most suitable for a particular patient depends on a number of factors, including the size, location, appearance and characteristics of the breast abnormality.

Be sure to speak with your physician, who will help determine the breast biopsy method best for you.

Image-Guided Breast Biopsy
Many breast biopsy methods rely on image-guidance such as stereotactic mammography or ultrasound to help the radiologist or surgeon precisely locate the abnormality within the breast. Each is discussed below:

During a stereotactic (X-ray guided) breast biopsy, the patient receives a local anesthetic to the breast. Next, a hollow needle is passed through a tiny incision in the skin into the suspicious area with the help of a special computerized (digital) mammography unit that uses intersecting coordinates to pinpoint the area. A specially designed table is used for stereotactic biopsy, where the patient lies face-down with her breast resting through a hole in the table. The actual biopsy takes place below the table after raising it to gain access to the breast.

Ultrasound-Guided Breast Biopsy - is an excellent method of imaging the breast and allows biopsy of the breast from almost any orientation. Core needle biopsy, vacuum-assisted (or rotational cutting) biopsy and fine needle aspiration are different methods of breast biopsy that may be performed using ultrasound if a breast abnormality is easily visualized with this method.

During an ultrasound-guided breast biopsy, the patient receives a local anesthetic to the breast. Next, small samples of tissue are removed from the breast using a hollow needle or probe that is precisely guided to the correct location using continuous ultrasound imaging.

Core Needle Biopsy - is a minimally invasive procedure that consists of a hollow needle that is attached to a spring-loaded mechanism. When released, the needle shoots forward and the hollow trough of the needle fills with tissue. With this method, it is necessary to withdraw the needle after each sample in order to collect the tissue. However, each tissue sample is obtained in just a fraction of a second.

In the case of non-palpable abnormalities (those that cannot be felt), stereotactic mammography or ultrasound image guidance is used to help the radiologist or surgeon pinpoint the exact location of the breast mass.

There are several benefits to this method of biopsy. Because core needle biopsy is minimally invasive, patients do not have to undergo an open surgical procedure, and therefore, do not require general anesthesia or sedation. This method of biopsy also results in a very brief recovery time. Generally, patients who receive core needle biopsy experience just mild soreness and slight bruising, but no scarring. However, if pain persists or becomes severe, or if you notice unusual swelling or redness, please contact your physician.

Vacuum-Assisted Breast Biopsy - is a newer minimally invasive breast biopsy procedure that utilizes stereotactic mammography or ultrasound image guidance to pinpoint the exact location of a breast abnormality.

During vacuum-assisted biopsy, the patient receives a small amount of local anesthetic to the breast. Then, under stereotactic or ultrasound guidance, the radiologist positions a special probe in the area of the breast where the abnormality is located.

The probe uses vacuum pressure to pull breast tissue into the device and remove it, without having to withdraw the apparatus after each sample. Another advantage to vacuum-assisted biopsy is it obtains tissue samples in a more orderly manner, assuring that the entire area of concern is sampled.

Because vacuum-assisted biopsy is minimally invasive, patients do not have to undergo an open surgical procedure, and therefore, do not require general anesthesia or sedation. This method of biopsy also results in a very brief recovery time. Generally, patients who receive vacuum-assisted biopsy experience just mild soreness and slight bruising, but no scarring. However, if pain persists or becomes severe, or if you notice unusual swelling or redness, please contact your physician.

Fine Needle Aspiration - uses a fine gauge needle and a syringe to sample fluid from a breast cyst or remove clusters of cells from a solid mass. Just as with other breast biopsy methods, the sample is then sent to the laboratory for analysis.

If a breast lump can be felt, the radiologist or surgeon will guide a needle into the area of concern by palpating (feeling) the lump. If the lump is non-palpable (cannot be felt), the FNA procedure will be done under image-guidance either using stereotactic mammography or ultrasound.

Fine needle aspiration is generally considered to be less accurate than core needle biopsy and many times needs to be followed by a more definitive biopsy procedure.

Because fine needle aspiration is minimally invasive, patients do not have to undergo an open surgical biopsy, and therefore, do not require general anesthesia or sedation. This method of biopsy also results in a very brief recovery time. Generally, patients experience just mild soreness and slight bruising, but no scarring. However, if pain persists or becomes severe, or if you notice unusual swelling or redness, please contact your physician.

Community Radiology NY PC can provide Ultrasound Guided Biopsy Procedures including Ultrasound Guided Fine Needle Aspiration of Breast, Thyroid, Lymph Nodes, and Ultrasound Guided Core Biopsy of the Breast.

Our patients can be assured that they will receive the highest level of care.

 
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