When a breast abnormality is discovered in a mammogram or other examination, an ultrasound-guided breast biopsy is one of the diagnostic methods that may be recommended to determine whether cancer is present. In an ultrasound-guided breast biopsy, ultrasound imaging is used to guide the insertion of a biopsy needle to remove small tissue samples in the suspicious area. The tissue samples are then sent to a pathology lab for examination, to determine if the tissue is cancerous.
Ultrasound-guided breast biopsy is one several techniques for diagnosing breast cancer. Since the procedure uses a small needle to extract tissue samples, it is minimally invasive and virtually pain-free. Compared to open-surgery biopsies, the procedure is very short in duration and can be completed in an outpatient facility.
When you schedule this procedure, we will ask several screening questions to make sure you are not taking blood thinners, aspirin or other medications that could increase the risk of bleeding during the biopsy. Please be sure to tell our scheduling staff about all the medications, vitamins or dietary supplements that you take. If necessary, we may consult with your doctor on whether it is safe for you to temporarily stop medications that could increase your risk of bleeding.
On the day of your biopsy, you will meet with one of Larchmont’s radiologists, who will explain the procedure to you and answer all of your questions. The radiologists performing this procedure are trained in all aspects of breast imaging (mammography, ultrasound and MRI), and have advanced training in breast biopsy techniques.
An ultrasound scan will first be performed to precisely locate the suspicious tissue and plan the procedure, determining the path of the biopsy needle. Local anesthesia will be administered to the biopsy area. The procedure takes about one hour with most of the time spent in the initial consultation with the radiologist and preliminary imaging. The actual needle biopsy only takes a few minutes. Following the procedure, we will hold pressure over the biopsy site to assure that any bleeding has stopped. A mammogram will then be performed to document the placement of a marking clip placed during the biopsy. You will then meet with the radiologist who performed the procedure to discuss post biopsy instructions and have your questions answered. You should plan on spending a total of about two hours in our office. The specimen obtained will be sent to a pathologist for examination and you will receive the final results within several days. If cancer is found, our radiologist will consult with your doctor to facilitate referral to a breast surgeon.