Breast Biopsy

If you find changes or something unusual in either of your breasts, it is important to see a doctor or breast health nurse as soon as possible. After diagnostic imaging, you may be asked to have a breast biopsy. Keep in mind that most people who undergo a breast biopsy learn they do not have breast cancer.

Your doctor will recommend the type of biopsy that is right for you, such as:

  • Fine-needle aspiration biopsy – This is a quick method to distinguish between a fluid-filled cyst and a solid mass. It is most often used to evaluate a lump that you can feel during a self-breast exam, during a clinical breast exam, or an abnormality visible on an ultrasound or mammogram. The radiologist will insert a very fine needle into the lump. If no fluid can be withdrawn and the mass doesn’t resolve on its own, your doctor may recommend a different type of biopsy
  • Ultrasound-guided core needle biopsy – Using ultrasound guidance, an imaging method that uses high-frequency sound waves, a doctor can locate and sample a suspicious mass in the breast. The doctor will insert a vacuum-assisted probe to remove several tissue samples for analysis.
  • Stereotactic biopsy – Using X-ray guidance (mammography) to determine the exact location to perform the biopsy, the mammographer will position the breast for a mammogram. After the mammogram, the radiologist or surgeon will insert a vacuum-assisted probe into the suspicious area and remove several samples for analysis.
  • MRI-guided biopsy – Guided in real time by magnetic resonance (MR) imaging, this non-surgical, minimally invasive procedure is recommended for high-risk patients, including women with thin breasts, implants, lesions near the medial wall or multiple lesions. The radiologist removes samples of breast tissue using a special needle and sends them to a pathologist for review.
  • Surgical biopsy – A portion of the breast mass is removed for examination (excisional biopsy) or the entire breast mass may be removed (lumpectomy). This type of biopsy is usually done in the operating room with general anesthesia.


From the time you make your first appointment through any treatment or follow-up care you may need, our breast health nurses are available at 941-917-2636. To schedule an appointment, call 941-917-7322.

Preparing for Your Breast Biopsy