If an irregular or abnormal growth is found in the breast during a mammogram or other breast imaging tests, a breast biopsy may be needed. In some instances, a breast growth is just a fluid-filled cyst or benign tumor. A breast biopsy can help determine if a breast growth is benign (noncancerous) or malignant (cancerous).
What is breast cancer?
Breast cancer is when the cells of your breast begin to multiply rapidly and do not mature into healthy breast tissue. These excess cells begin to grow and proliferate quickly, which can cause tumors to form. While breast cancer occurs most commonly in women, breast cancer can also affect men. The majority of breast cancer cases in women begin in the milk ducts. If you discover a breast lump, it is important to realize that many cases of breast tumors or growths are benign and noncancerous. If a breast lump is found, your doctor may order a breast biopsy to determine the cause of the growth.
What type of breast biopsies are there?
There are many breast biopsy options currently available that aim to determine the cause of your breast lump while being as minimally invasive as possible. At Park Avenue Radiologists, we offer ultrasound-guided breast biopsies, fine needle aspiration breast biopsy, core breast biopsies, and surgical breast biopsies.
Ultrasound-Guided Breast Biopsy
Ultrasound technology may be used to assess masses or lumps within the breast. Biopsies can be taken through the use of a vacuum-assisted device. An ultrasound-guided breast biopsy can be performed as an outpatient procedure and can help avoid unnecessary breast surgery. The tissue sample collected during an ultrasound-guided breast biopsy is viewed under a microscope to determine a proper diagnosis.
Fine Needle Aspiration Breast Biopsy
A fine needle aspiration biopsy uses a small needle to remove a sample from a breast lump. In most cases, fine needle aspiration is used only on breast lumps that can be felt and that occur on the outer parts of the breasts. A local anesthetic may be applied to the breast prior to the beginning of your fine needle breast biopsy. A fine needle aspiration biopsy is less invasive than a core breast biopsy but may be less accurate if the sample is not taken directly from the breast lump.
Core Needle Breast Biopsy
Core needle biopsy uses a hollow needle that is slightly larger than the needle used in a fine needle biopsy. A core needle biopsy uses a hollow needle that will take cylindrical samples (cores) of the breast lump. For the most accurate results three to six breast core samples may be taken. While a core needle biopsy is used on breast lumps that can be felt, it can also be used on breast lumps that are only able to be seen on a mammogram or other form of breast imaging. Core needle biopsies are quick, accurate breast cancer tests that do not involve surgery.
Surgical Breast Biopsy
There are two types of surgical breast biopsies, which include an incisional breast biopsy and an excisional breast biopsy. An incisional breast biopsy is when only a portion of the breast lump is removed to be tested. On the other hand, an excisional breast biopsy is when all of the breast lump being tested is completely removed from the breast. It is important to note that the larger the breast lump being removed is, the greater chance that the shape of your breast may change. Additionally, in some cases of surgical breast biopsy, stitches may be required to properly close the incision.
How long does a biopsy take, & when will I get my breast biopsy results?
The length of your breast biopsy will vary depending on what breast biopsy procedure you are undergoing. Additionally, a breast biopsy procedure may be longer if you are having multiple lumps examined or if you are having a larger breast lump removed through excisional breast biopsy surgery. For needle breast biopsies, most procedures can be completed in just ten to twenty minutes. One of our radiologists will be able to estimate your breast biopsy time more effectively when they view your individual case. Our radiologists will notify your doctor as soon as your breast biopsy results are available.
How can I learn more about breast biopsies?
Our radiologists at Park Avenue Radiologists would be happy to discuss breast biopsies with you. For an appointment or additional information, please call 212.888.1000, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or request an appointment online.