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Definition

Breast needle biopsy is the removal of a sample of breast tissue using a needle. The sample is examined in a lab. There are different types of breast needle biopsies:

    
  • Fine needle aspiration
  • Ultrasound-directed needle biopsy
  • Stereotactic core needle biopsy
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)-guided breast biopsy
  • Vacuum-assisted device biopsy
  • Reasons for Procedure

    Breast needle biopsy is done to examine a suspicious area in the breast. It may be done if any of the following are found:

        
  • Lump
  • Tissue thickening
  • Nipple abnormality
  • Discharge from the nipple
  • Abnormal ultrasound or mammogram image
  • The biopsy can identify the area as either benign (noncancerous) or malignant (cancerous).

    Possible Complications

    Complications are rare, but no procedure is completely free of risk. If you are planning to have a biopsy, your doctor will review a list of possible complications, which may include:

        
  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Bruising
  • Some factors that may increase the risk of complications include:

        
  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Poor nutrition
  • Chronic illness (eg, diabetes)
  • Bleeding disorder
  • Be sure to discuss these risks with your doctor before the procedure.

    What to Expect

    Prior to Procedure

    Your doctor may do the following:

        
  • Physical exam, especially a breast exam
  • Blood tests
  • Mammogram and/or breast ultrasound
  • Leading up to the biopsy:

        
  • Talk to your doctor about your current medication. Certain medication may need to be stopped before the procedure, such as:     
  • Anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Blood-thinning drugs
  • Shower the morning of the biopsy. You may be asked to use a special antibacterial soap.
  • Anesthesia

    You may receive local anesthesia. If this is the case, the area that is being operated on will be numbed.

    Description of the Procedure

    The doctor will choose from several types of biopsies to get a tissue sample:

    MRI-guided Breast Biopsy

    In some instances, the suspicious area can only be seen using an MRI. Because of this, an MRI-guided breast biopsy may be needed. This procedure takes more time. Tell your doctor if you have a cardiac pacemaker. It may affect the procedure.