Understanding your Treatment
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 some diagnostic imaging, you may be asked to have a breast biopsy. Keep in mind this reassuring fact: Most women who undergo a breast biopsy learn they do not have breast cancer.
There are different types of biopsies. Your doctor will recommend the method that is right for you based on the size, location and other characteristics of your breast abnormality. Types of breast biopsies include:
Fine-Needle Aspiration Biopsy
This is the simplest type of breast biopsy. It 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 by a health professional or an abnormality visible on an ultrasound or mammogram. During an aspiration, your 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 If no fluid can be withdrawn and the mass doesn’t resolve on its own, your doctor may recommend a different type of biopsy.
Minimally Invasive Biopsies
Ultrasound-Guided Core Needle Biopsy – This type of core needle biopsy involves ultrasound guidance, an imaging method that uses high-frequency sound waves to help your doctor locate and sample the suspicious mass in your breast. The doctor will insert a vacuum-assisted probe to remove several tissue samples for analysis.
Stereotactic Biopsy – A type of core needle biopsy that uses X-ray guidance (mammography) to determine the exact location to perform the biopsy. You will be asked to lie on your stomach on a padded table with an opening that allows your mammographer to position the affected breast for a mammogram. After the mammogram, your radiologist/surgeon will insert a vacuum-assisted probe into the suspicious area and remove several samples for analysis.
MRI-Guided Biopsy – An MRI-guided breast biopsy is a non-surgical, minimally invasive procedure used to obtain tissue samples for microscopic examination. Guided in real time by magnetic resonance (MR) imaging, the technology is recommended for a broad spectrum of high-risk patients, including women with thin breasts, implants, lesions near the medial wall or with multiple lesions – areas where it can be difficult to feel. The radiologist removes samples of breast tissue using a special needle and sends them to a pathologist for review.
Surgical Biopsy – During a surgical biopsy, a portion of the breast mass will be removed for examination (excisional biopsy) or the entire breast mass (lumpectomy) may be removed. This type of biopsy is usually done in the operating room with general anesthesia.
Before a breast biopsy, tell the doctor if you:
- Are unable to lie on your stomach for an extended period of time
We’re Here to Help
From the time you make your first appointment through any questions, treatment or follow-up care that you may need, our Breast Health nurses are available to guide you every step of the way. Call us at (941) 917-2636.