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The Breast Care Center

Breast Cancer Biopsies

While a breast cancer biopsy may sound scary, you should know that 85 percent of all lumps are not cancerous. Biopsies are a sampling of the suspected tissue in order to examine it more carefully for signs of cancer. At the Breast Care Center, we have many different types of breast biopsies. Your breast surgeon will discuss the best breast cancer biopsy method for you.

Breast Cancer Biopsy Results 

Obviously, undergoing a breast cancer biopsy is a source of worry and tension for our patients. Below is an explanation of the various types of biopsies.

There are 2 major types of breast cancer biopsies: Minimally Invasive Biopsies and Surgical Breast Biopsies

Minimally Invasive Breast Cancer Biopsies 

Minimally invasive breast biopsies are the preferred method of performing a breast biopsy. This means your breast surgeons will not cut into the breast tissue; rather they will use a small, hollow needle to pull a sample from the suspicious mass. Minimally invasive biopsies have a reduced risk of infection, easier recovery and less scarring. Typically, your doctor will numb the affected area before the procedure, so your discomfort is minimal. 

  • Ultrasound guided core needle breast cancer biopsy
    Using ultrasound technology, your doctor will locate the mass. A fine, hollow needle is inserted into the mass, and a sample is drawn out. The sample is examined under a microscope to determine if there are cancer cells present.
  • Stereotactic core needle breast cancer biopsy
    You will lie down on a special table with openings for your breasts. This position allows your breast surgeons to use digital mammogram technology to create an accurate picture of where the mass is located within your breast. Using digital mammogram technology, your breast surgeons will locate the mass on the mammogram.  A small, hollow needle is inserted into the mass, and a sample is drawn out. The sample is examined under a microscope to determine if there are cancer cells present.
  • MRI guided core needle breast cancer biopsy
    During an MRI guided biopsy, your breast surgeons will use the MRI pictures to locate the suspicious area within your breast. Very often, MRI guided core needle biopsies are used when the pictures seen on breast ultrasounds or digital mammograms are unclear. Once the area is located, your breast surgeon will remove a small tissue sample for later examination under a microscope.
  • Core needle breast cancer biopsy
    During a core needle biopsy, your breast surgeon uses a fine, hollow needle to withdraw sample from the suspicious mass. Examining the sample under a microscope will tell your doctors if cancer cells are present. Sometimes, your breast surgeons will use breast ultrasound or digital mammogram technologies to visualize where the mass is inside your breast.
  • Fine needle aspiration
    A fine needle aspiration uses a small, hollow needle to take samples of breast tissue. This minimally invasive biopsy method may be combined with diagnostic breast imaging technologies, so your breast surgeons can visualize where the mass is located within your breast.

Surgical Breast Cancer Biopsies 

Sometimes, a minimally invasive breast cancer biopsy is not the best option. Your breast surgeon will discuss the best method for performing a breast cancer biopsy with you. Surgical breast biopsies include:

  • Excisional breast cancer biopsy
    An excisional biopsy is an open, surgical approach, where you breast surgeon removes the lump from your breast. You are usually under general anesthesia for this procedure. Sometimes this approach is combined with a wire localization excisional biopsy. You will feel sore for a few days, and will have to specially care for the wound. Your breast surgeon will give you all the information you need to prepare and recover from this type of breast biopsy.
  • Wire localization excisional breast cancer biopsy
    During this type of breast biopsy, your breast surgeon will use digital imaging technologies to visualize the mass inside the breast. After general anesthesia is administered, using a small needle, your breast surgeon will push a very thin wire through the needle to mark the spot. This may be repeated several times. During the procedure, the wires left in place serve as a guide to your breast surgeon about which tissue to remove.
  • Ductal excision breast cancer biopsy
    Excisional biopsies are used in cases of women who experience nipple discharge. After the area is anesthetized, your breast surgeon will insert a fine, hollow needle through the nipple and into the duct. Tissue from the duct is removed and examined under a microscope for signs of cancer cells. 

Request an appointment online at Wake Forest Baptist today to find out if a breast cancer biopsy is right for you.


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Breast Care Center

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Last Updated: 01-15-2016
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Disclaimer: The information on this website is for general informational purposes only and SHOULD NOT be relied upon as a substitute for sound professional medical advice, evaluation or care from your physician or other qualified health care provider.

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