A biopsy is a procedure performed by a physician to remove samples of abnormal tissue or lesions located in the breast. There are two main types of biopsy procedures:
- Surgical (invasive)
- Minimally invasive
You and your physician will decide which is most appropriate for you.
A surgical biopsy involves making an incision as close to the lump as possible. The surgeon removes a tissue sample through the incision. If the mass is small, the entire lump may be removed.
Although this type of biopsy may be done on an outpatient basis and under general anesthesia, the actual recovery and healing time varies depending on the patient and size and location of the lump.
The minimally invasive biopsy procedures are performed by a radiologist or by a surgeon. Fine needle aspiration and core needle biopsies are two types of minimally invasive procedures.
Fine needle aspiration biopsy — During this type of biopsy procedure, an ultrasound technician will image the abnormal area of the breast, guiding the physician as he inserts a long thin needle into the breast lesion to remove a sampling of fluid. Because the needle used for this procedure is so small, no local anesthesia is required. Often times the physician performing the biopsy procedure will numb the area with a topical anesthetic.
This procedure will take less than one hour and causes no scarring. There is essentially no recovery time. The dressing generally consists a band-aid covering the biopsy site.
Core needle biopsy — This type of biopsy procedure is performed under a local anesthetic. Once again, an ultrasound technician images the abnormality to guide the physician during the biopsy. During the procedure the physician makes a small skin incision. He will use a spring-loaded device to repeatedly obtain samples of the lesion. The physician acquires multiple samples of the lesion in question during this type of procedure.
The samples obtained are delivered to the pathology department for examination.
The procedure is generally completed within one hour. This type of procedure may result in minimal scarring. Your recovery time is minimal. The dressing will consist of a band-aid or pressure pack.