Breast biopsy is used by breast imaging radiologists at SimonMed if a mass or other suspicious finding in the breast needs further evaluation to determine if it is cancerous. If a breast biopsy is recommended, a small sample of tissue will be removed and submitted to a pathologist to help breast imaging radiologists make an accurate diagnosis.
Types of breast biopsies
There are various reasons why a breast biopsy may be recommended, but the most common reason is abnormal image findings that require abnormal breast tissue to be removed and sent to a pathologist at a laboratory for definitive diagnosis.
Breast imaging radiologists at SimonMed typically perform needle-guided biopsies. This occurs when a very small, thin needle is inserted into the area of concern to withdraw tissue. From there, the tissue is sent to a laboratory for evaluation and to determine the most effective treatment plan.
Biopsies are sometimes used with assistance from technology such as MRI-guided breast biopsy, ultrasound-guided breast biopsy and stereotactic-guided breast biopsy. These modalities help the breast imaging radiologist quickly gather tissue that is deep in the body and often hard to see with other imaging technology.
A breast biopsy helps doctors understand where the cancer originated and if the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes or other parts of the body.
As a minimally invasive approach to detecting and diagnosing breast cancer, a breast biopsy is a highly accurate procedure that is performed in SimonMed’s outpatient office and is typically completed 90 minutes or less.
Tissue samples are sent to a pathologist and results are typically available within three to five days.
Starting five days prior to a biopsy, patients must discontinue all use of medication such as Aspirin, Ibuprofen, Naproxen and Omega 3 supplements (including fish oil, flax seed, etc.). Tylenol/Acetaminophen is OK to take. It is important for patients to discuss any prescription medications, especially one that affects blood clotting ability, with a physician prior to the appointment.
On the day of the procedure, patients are asked to wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing, preferably a two-piece outfit, and a bra. It is recommended that all jewelry is left at home. Refraining from using deodorant, along with creams, lotions, powders or perfume around the breast area is strongly encouraged.
Most breast biopsies only require the use of a local anesthetic to numb the area prior to the procedure.
What to expect
During an ultrasound-guided breast biopsy, patients lie on their backs and the area is scanned by a technologist. After an anesthetic is administered, a very small incision is made, a small marker is placed in the breast to identify the area, and tissue samples are obtained. Following the biopsy, a mammogram will be performed to document the place of the marker.
When a patient undergoes a stereotactic breast biopsy, the mammography images that are taken from three angles, help calculate the precise location of the tissue that will be sampled.
Patients may need to lie on their back or side. In some instances, a patient may be required to lie on their stomach, and the breast will be placed in an opening on the table. The table will then be raised and the technologist will perform the biopsy underneath. Computer images will guide the technologist to the area of concern to be biopsied and a small clip will be placed at the area for biopsy. A low pressure mammogram will then be performed to verify the clip was placed in the correct location.
An ultrasound-guided cyst aspiration may be recommended to remove fluid from a cyst in the breast. Many lumps in the breast contain fluid and are not cancerous, but a small percentage may contain malignant (cancerous) cells. This procedure helps doctors understand the nature of the cyst.
During this procedure, patients lie on their backs and the area of concern is scanned. A small needle is inserted and fluid is removed so it can be examined. Sometimes there is no need to send the results to a laboratory if the fluid looks normal. Other times a sample is sent to a pathologist for further evaluation.
If a breast MRI-guided biopsy is recommended, a powerful magnetic field, radio waves and a computer will help radiologists locate a breast lump or abnormality and guide a needle to remove tissue sampled for further examination under a microscope.
In most cases patients lie face down and the breast will be positioned into an opening on the exam table. The breast will then be compressed and a small needle will be inserted to gather tissue for testing. A small marker may be placed at the site and then the location will be confirmed by a mammogram
After the procedure
Discharge instructions will be provided by SimonMed staff and Tylenol may be used for any discomfort. It is extremely important that patients do not do any heavy lifting, exercising or any strenuous upper body activities. It is not uncommon for patients to feel breast tenderness or bruising.
For questions regarding a breast biopsy or to schedule an appointment at a SimonMed location, contact us today.
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