If your doctor finds a lump, bump, or other abnormality on your mammogram, he or she will most likely refer you to a local women’s imaging center for a breast biopsy. While fear and anxiety are natural reactions, rest assured that the vast majority of biopsies – 4 out of 5 – test negative for cancer. In the worst-case scenario, a breast biopsy can save your life by detecting the illness early on.

What is a breast biopsy?

A breast biopsy is a diagnostic procedure in which cells are removed from a suspicious mass on the breast, and examined in order to determine whether they are benign or malignant.

Bergen Imaging Center offers ultrasound guided biopsies. During this procedure, your radiologist uses an ultrasound to guide the needle to the biopsy site. This is also referred to as an “image guided” biopsy, and offers greater accuracy in pinpointing the abnormal growth compared to other types of biopsies.

We offer three different biopsy procedures including: ultrasound guided fine needle aspirations, ultrasound guided cyst aspirations, and ultrasound guided core needle biopsies.

What are the advantages of ultrasound guided biopsies ?

Ultrasound guided biopsies are faster and less invasive than surgical biopsies. The entire procedure takes under an hour and leaves little or no scarring. Other advantages include:

  • No ionizing radiation
  • Less expensive than stereotactic or surgical biopsies
  • Minimal recovery time required
  • Higher accuracy in determining whether a breast abnormality is benign or malignant
  • Ability to evaluate lumps in hard to reach places such as under the arm or near the chest

What to expect during my breast biopsy?

Image-guided, minimally invasive ultrasound guided breast biopsies are performed by a radiologist on an outpatient basis.

You will be positioned face up, or slightly on your side on the examination table, as the area to be biopsied is numbed with anesthetic. Then, using the ultrasound probe to visualize the location of the suspicious mass, your radiologist will insert the biopsy needle into your skin, advance it towards the lump, and extract the necessary tissue samples for examination. Exact details of the procedure vary depending on the type of biopsy performed (ultrasound guided fine needle aspiration, ultrasound guided cyst aspiration, or ultrasound guided core needle biopsy).

While you may experience some bruising, scarring is rare. It is important to keep the biopsy site dry, and avoid exercise or heavy lifting for 24 hours. You will be contacted once your results are in, generally within a few days.