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Breast Biopsy

Breast Care

If you have a suspicious finding on your imaging or physical exam, your doctor may order a biopsy. During a biopsy, small pieces of tissue are removed to be tested by the laboratory.

Breast imaging technology allows doctors to pinpoint lesions and sample breast tissue using a needle instead of performing surgery.

Our specially trained breast radiologists use stereotactic (using a special mammography machine), MRI-guided, and ultrasound-guided biopsy procedures that can precisely and accurately sample breast tissue from a suspected abnormality using a needle.

Using imaging technology to guide them, doctors simply insert the needle through the skin into the abnormality and extract tissue. There's no need for sutures.

Saint Luke’s offers biopsies at:

What to Expect During a Breast Biopsy

Stereotactic needle biopsy

A stereotactic breast biopsy uses mammography to help pinpoint the spot in the breast that needs to be biopsied.

After arriving for the procedure, you will be asked to undress from the waist up and will be given a gown to wear. The technologist will explain every step before performing the procedure.

You will be taken to the procedure room, and a surgical marker will pinpoint the place on your breast where the procedure will be done. The technologist will help you lie on your stomach in the proper position for the procedure. It’s important that you remain still until the biopsy is complete.

The doctor will apply a numbing medication before making a small incision and inserting the needle. No anesthesia is needed for this procedure. After the doctor inserts the biopsy needle, he will take two X-rays to ensure that the needle is properly placed. He will then take tissue samples. Before removing the biopsy needle, a small surgical marker about the size of a sesame seed will be placed at the biopsy site. This helps surgeons precisely identify the biopsy site should additional surgery be needed.

After the biopsy, you’ll undergo a mammogram using very little compression to ensure that the marker is placed correctly. Once that’s complete, you’ll receive a pressure bandage on the biopsy site and then you’ll be free to go.

Ultrasound-guided biopsy

An ultrasound-guided breast biopsy uses ultrasound to help pinpoint the spot in the breast that needs to be biopsied. This procedure takes about one hour to complete.

After arriving for the procedure, you will be asked to undress from the waist up and will be given a gown to wear. The technologist will explain every step before performing the procedure.

You will be taken to the procedure room, and a surgical marker will pinpoint the place on your breast where the procedure will be done. The technologist will help you lie on your back in a comfortable position.

The doctor will apply a numbing medication before making a small incision and inserting the needle. No anesthesia is needed for this procedure. Watching the ultrasound monitor, the doctor will guide the needle to the area to be biopsied and take tissue samples. Before removing the biopsy needle, a small surgical marker about the size of a sesame seed will be placed at the biopsy site. This helps surgeons precisely identify the biopsy site should additional surgery be needed. 

After the biopsy, you’ll undergo a mammogram using very little compression to ensure that the marker is placed correctly. Once that’s complete, you’ll receive a pressure bandage on the biopsy site and then you’ll be free to go.