A diagnostic surgical procedure
A breast biopsy is the removal of a small sample of breast tissue to examine it for signs of breast cancer or other disorders. Different types of biopsies may be conducted. One type performed at Westside Surgical Hospital is called stereotactic breast biopsy. The procedure uses mammography to help pinpoint the spot in the breast from where the sample tissue needs to be removed.
How the test is performed
The biopsy may be performed with the patient lying on a raised biopsy table. In some cases, the patient sits in an upright position while the biopsy is taken.
After numbing medicine is given, the doctor makes a very small cut on your breast over the area that needs to be biopsied. Using a special machine, a needle or sheath is guided to the exact location of the abnormal area. Several samples of breast tissue are taken.
After the tissue sample has been taken, the catheter or needle is removed. Ice and pressure are applied if bleeding occurs. A bandage will be applied to the area at the conclusion of the procedure.
The biopsy itself is done using one of the following:
- Fine needle aspiration
- Hollow needle (core needle)
- Vacuum-powered device
- Both a needle and vacuum-powered device
The actual biopsy only takes several minutes. The entire procedure usually takes about one hour, including the time it takes for the x-rays.