If the radiologist has identified a suspicious mass on a mammogram or ultrasound, a biopsy may be recommended. A Stereotactic ultrasound-guided, or MR-guided breast biopsy has been proven to be as accurate as a surgical “open” biopsy in an operating room and has many advantages. These biopsies:
- Are performed in an office
- Provide for immediate recovery
- Cost one-fifth to one-third the cost of an open biopsy
- Take less than one hour to perform
- Do not cause any scarring or breast deformity, resulting in more accurate interpretation of follow-up mammograms
With a stereotactic biopsy, the patient sits in a chair and the breast with the abnormality is placed in the stereotactic unit. The radiologist numbs the skin and makes a small opening for a needle. The radiologist then passes a needle through the numbed area of the breast and removes small tissue samples. This is done several times through the same opening. The procedure lasts about 30 minutes. The tissue samples are sent to a laboratory for analysis.
Alternatively, when the breast abnormality can be seen by ultrasound, the abnormality can be biopsied using ultrasound as a guide. The patient lies on her back and the radiologist uses a technique very similar to that of stereotactic biopsy. It only takes 10-15 minutes and has all the biopsy advantages of the stereotactic biopsy. If an abnormality is only seen on a Breast MRI, then the biopsy must be performed in an MRI machine. (See our Breast MRI brochure for more details.) When any type of biopsy is complete, the doctor places a bandage over the affected area and an ice pack on the breast.