DEFINITION: A breast biopsy is the best way to evaluate a suspicious area in your breast to determine if it is breast cancer. A breast biopsy is performed to remove a small sample of breast tissue that will be sent for laboratory testing. Through laboratory testing, doctors can diagnose and identify abnormalities in the cells that make up breast lumps or other unusual breast changes identified through mammography and other studies.

Ultrasound-guided core needle biopsy uses high-frequency sound waves to pinpoint the location of suspicious areas within the breast and to provide a guide for the biopsy to take place.

WHAT TO EXPECT: For your ultrasound biopsy, you will be asked to change into a gown. The procedure will be thoroughly explained to you by one of our medical assistants or technologists, and you will have plenty of time to have all of your questions answered.

During the procedure, you will lie on your back on an ultrasound table. A gel will be is applied to the skin and a small, handheld instrument called a transducer will be passed back and forth over the area of the breast that is of interest. Using ultrasound technology, the radiologist will locate the mass within your breast and make a small incision in your breast. He or she will insert either a needle or a vacuum-powered probe to remove several samples of tissue. Our radiologists will take special care to make sure you are as comfortable as possible during the procedure. The samples we collect will then be sent to our laboratory for analysis. The procedure can take approximately 30 minutes to one hour.

HOW TO PREPARE: Before the breast biopsy, tell your doctor if you are taking any medications or have any allergies. Do not take any analgesics, vitamin E or blood thinners for seven days prior to your biopsy.

RESULTS: After the biopsy, your breast tissue is sent to our laboratory, where a pathologist will examine the tissue and create a pathology report. The report includes details about the size, color and consistency of the tissues sampled; the location of the biopsy site; and whether cancer cells were present. The biopsy report is then sent to your doctor. Our patient navigator or one of our radiologists will share the results with you. Should you need further care, you and your doctor will work together to develop a treatment plan that best suits your needs.