Minimally Invasive Biopsies

If your mammogram shows an area of suspicion or you find changes or something unusual in one of your breasts, your health care provider will recommend a biopsy. Just because you have a biopsy does not mean you have breast cancer.

A biopsy is when a piece of tissue is removed and looked at under a microscope by a pathologist. Most biopsy results do not indicate cancer. Noncancerous breast conditions are very common, and they are never life threatening.

There are several ways to do a breast biopsy:

  • Fine-needle aspiration biopsy – A thin needle is inserted into a lump and removes a sample of cells or fluid.
  • Core needle biopsy – A needle with a special tip is used to remove a sample of breast tissue about the size of a grain of rice.
  • Vacuum-assisted core biopsy – This is done with a probe that uses a gentle vacuum to remove a small sample of breast tissue.
  • Open (surgical) biopsy – A small incision is made in the skin and breast tissue to remove all or part of a lump.

If needed, an ultrasound or MRI may be used to guide the biopsy needle. Or your doctor may use a computer to locate the exact spot for the biopsy sample from mammograms that have been taken from two angles (stereotactic needle biopsy). A fine wire, clip or marker also may be used to mark the site.

3-D Biopsy

The Bethany Simpson Breast Center offers you minimally invasive biopsy options. We are one of the first health care providers in the area to offer patients breast 3-D mammography biopsy. The new Affirm breast biopsy guidance system combined with Selenia® Dimensions® breast tomosynthesis system allows our radiologists to locate and accurately target regions of interest for biopsy. This technology enables us to target lesions easily, including those visible only in 3-D images.