Answers to your breast health questions
Types of Breast Biopsy
If your mammogram, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), ultrasound or breast cancer screening finds an abnormality, your doctor may order a biopsy.
A biopsy is a procedure that collects a small sample from unusual tissue, like a lesion or tumor. The tissue is then examined under a microscope. Results usually take two to three days to receive. You can return to your normal activities after a biopsy.
At Beth Israel Lahey Health Breast Center–Plymouth, have access to several biopsy options:
Core Needle Biopsy
This is a minimally invasive procedure. You receive local anesthesia to reduce pain. The process is quick.
Biopsies can be obtained with mammography, ultrasound or MRI depending on how the area is best visualized. A small tissue sample is obtained with a needle and sent for examination. Most results are back within 3-5 business days.
Stereotactic Breast Biopsy
We use this biopsy method to check small areas of tiny calcium deposits and other breast tissue that can’t be seen clearly with breast ultrasound.
To ensure accuracy, your doctor uses digital mammography images taken before and during the procedure. A computer analyzes pictures from different angles to pinpoint where the biopsy needle tip should enter the breast.
You receive a local anesthetic to numb your breast. Once the needle is placed, more images are taken to make sure it’s in the right spot. The needle removes multiple tissue samples from the exact locations of abnormal cells.
This pre-surgical procedure marks biopsy sites that cannot be felt or to locate a marker placed during an earlier biopsy.
You receive a local anesthesia to numb your breast. Your doctor uses mammography or ultrasound images to pinpoint the correct biopsy location.
Your doctor places a hollow needle into your breast tissue. Then a wire is threaded through the needle into the biopsy site. The wire is fixed in place.
Needle localization takes 30 minutes to one hour.
After the wire is placed, you are moved to the operating room. You receive general or local anesthesia and sedation through an intravenous (IV) line.
Your doctor removes the needle along with the targeted tissue.
Tissue Markers (Clips)
Your doctor may place a metallic clip at your biopsy site during your biopsy procedure. We also use clips to mark tissue areas to watch.
Clips make it easier for your doctor to find the abnormal cell site again. This is useful if you need surgery. Tissue markers also help your doctor monitor any changes in areas of concern.
Clips do not harm your body. You can't feel or see the marker. Clips are safe during MRIs and other imaging tests. They will not alert a metal detector.
If you need surgery, your doctor removes the clip at that time.