You may have had a recent breast screening, or examination by your doctor and have been advised that you need a breast biopsy. You first question will be “What is breast biopsy procedure?”.
What is Breast Biopsy Procedure?
Put simply a breast biopsy procedure is carried out to identify the nature of a lump in your breast. It involves the removal of a small sample of breast tissue that will then be sent to a laboratory to determine whether the lump is cancerous or otherwise. It is the only way to identify what a potential breast malignancy is so that treatment can be confidently followed.
You will be relieved to know that only 20% of biopsies carried out in the USA show signs of cancer, the other 80% are malignant lumps which can be left or removed. The reason for such a low number is that in the US we have an early detection policy.
Types of Breast Biopsy Procedure
There are several different types of breast biopsy procedures dependent on the nature of the lump, so you should ask your doctor which of these types of breast biopsy procedure you will have take place.
Fine Needle Aspiration Biopsy
Fine Needle Aspiration Biopsy uses a very thin needle attached to a syringe to withdraw fluid or tissue from an area that is easily accessible or close to the skin’s surface. It is more likely you will have this method of breast biopsy if the Doctor suspects the lump is a fluid-filled cyst. The Doctor may also use ultrasound during the procedure to locate the lump and withdraw from it.
It is possible that a fine needle aspiration biopsy doesn’t get a clear diagnosis, if the needle misses the area where the abnormal cells are, so in this case a different breast biopsy procedure may then be done.
Core Needle Breast Biopsy Procedure
The core needle breast biopsy procedure is very much like the fine needle procedure except the needle is larger, as it is a hollow needle that removes a small amount of tissue from the suspicious area. The procedure is usually carried out under local anesthesia so that the area being operated on is numbed. The needle will be put into the breast several time sin different areas to get several samples of breast material. Ultrasound may be used to help guide the surgeon.
Following the core needle breast biopsy procedure, you may have some bruising but no scarring.
Surgical Breast Biopsy
A surgical breast biopsy procedure is usually a last resort if either fine needle or core needle biopsies haven’t given clear results, or in some cases a surgical biopsy may be ordered immediately if a doctor highly suspects cancer and feels that it is later stage.
During the surgical procedure the surgeon makes a small incision and then extracts all or part of the suspicious lump and often a small amount of normal tissue attached to the lump to determine if the cells around it are abnormal.
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