Your doctor has recommended that you have a breast biopsy because of a suspicious area on your mammogram. Our breast imaging specialists perform this simple procedure at the Breast Health Center.
During the biopsy, our staff will collect a small sample of tissue from the suspicious area. We send the sample to a pathologist — a physician specializing in the analysis of tissue samples under a microscope. The pathologist will provide the biopsy results to your physician, who will review them with you.
This outpatient procedure requires minimal preparation and recovery time.
It is likely that we will perform your procedure using one of the three primary imaging systems common in breast biopsy: ultrasound, X-ray or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
Before Your Procedure
Before your biopsy procedure, be sure to tell your doctor about all the medications and vitamins you take — either prescription or over-the-counter. Your doctor may advise you to stop taking certain medications before your scheduled biopsy.
Our staff may also advise you to wear loose clothing for comfort and avoid deodorant or perfume. Most patients can eat and drink normally and go about their typical daily activities before arriving for their breast biopsy.
During Your Procedure
On the day of the procedure, our staff will ask you to undress and wear a gown. Depending on the imaging system used to help guide your biopsy, you may have your breast compressed similar to a mammogram, or we may apply a gel if your physician is using ultrasound imaging.
If you are having an MRI-guided biopsy, we will insert an IV into your arm so that a contrast agent will help us see small details in the breast. After you have been properly positioned for your biopsy, we will take an image of your breast and locate biopsy area. We will cleanse your skin with a sterialized solution and numb it with anesthetic.
We will then make a very small skin nick to make it easier for the biopsy needle to enter the breast.
Typically, we collect multiple tissue samples through the single skin nick. We may also take a final set of images to verify that we collected the appropriate tissue. Your physician may place a small marker (smaller than a piece of rice) at the biopsy site to make it easy to find the exact location of the biopsy in the future.
The marker is made of a metallic alloy, such as titanium or stainless steel, and you will not be able to feel or notice the marker after it has been placed.
After Your Procedure
A staff member will apply pressure to your breast for a few minutes. Then, we place a small bandage over the skin nick and give you an ice pack to apply over the biopsy site.
In some instances, we may place a compression wrap bandage around your chest to minimize chances of swelling or bruising.
Your doctor may prescribe a non-aspirin pain reliever to help alleviate discomfort. We will also give you detailed instructions for how to care for the biopsied area. Most women can resume normal daily activities immediately after their procedure.
Q: How much of the breast tissue or lump will be removed?
A: Only a small sampling of tissue will be taken from the suspicious area.
Q: How long will the biopsy take?
A: Biopsy times vary depending on each patient’s situation. Typically, the total time for a biopsy is 45 - 60 minutes from the time you enter the exam room until the time you leave. This includes the time it takes for the doctor to remove tissue samples, which is usually less than one minute.
Q: Will I experience any pain during the procedure?
A: Each patient is different, but you might feel a slight sting or pinch when the anesthetic is first being administered to your breast. Numbing the breast before the biopsy should make the rest of the procedure as pain-free as possible.
Q: How will I feel after the procedure?
A: Your breast may be slightly tender, and you may experience some bruising at the biopsy site. Typically, most women can resume many of their normal activities the same day as the procedure. Your doctor will advise you of post-biopsy procedure care.
Stereotactic, Ultrasound and MRI guided biopsies
- Stereotactic breast biopsies: You will lie on a padded table on your stomach, and your breast will be placed through an opening in the top of the table. Some compression will be required to maintain proper positioning. Our radiologist will utilize a specialized computer to guide the biopsy device/needle to the lesion and remove small tissue samples.
- Ultrasound-guided biopsies: You will lie on a padded table on their back. This procedure utilizes sound waves to assist the radiologist with placing a special biopsy needle into the breast lesion.
- MRI-guided biopsies: You will lie on a padded table on your stomach. We will place the breast through an opening in the top of the table. The technologist will position the breast to localize the area of concern. Some compression will be required to maintain proper positioning. A needle is placed into the breast lesion under MRI guidance. Our radiologist will remove small tissue samples from the area of concern.
After your biops,y we will place a small titanium clip or marker in your breast at the biopsy site to easily identify the area that was biopsied. You will not feel or notice the clip, and the clips are not associated with any health risks.
The technologist will hold pressure for a few minutes to stop any bleeding. We will apply a steri strip and sterile dressing to your biopsy site. You may feel some tenderness at the biopsy site or experience bruising after your biopsy for several days.
Patients can take Tylenol for discomfort. You can resume normal actives after your biopsy unless you get additional instructions.
We send all biopsy specimens to the pathologist for final diagnosis. These results are typically available within 48 to 72 hours.
We perform the above biopsy procedures at our diagnostic centers at the Outpatient Center at Surfside and the Outpatient Center at the Sanctuary and at Lee Health – Coconut Point
The patient will lie on a padded table on their back. This procedure utilizes ultrasound guidance. Sound waves will assist the radiologist with placing a small needle into the mass in your breast and extract fluid from it. We send the fluid to pathology to be examined under a microscope to assess for any abnormalities.
An alternative to needle localization is an FDA-cleared device called a Savi Scout. The radiologist will place a reflector Savi Scout next to the breast lesion using imaging guidance. This can be placed at any time before surgical removal.
On the day of surgery the surgeon will scan the breast using a hand piece that emits infrared light and a micro-impulse signal to detect the location of the reflector. Real-time audible and visual information helps the surgeon locate the reflector, along with the target lesion.
This device allows for more flexibility in scheduling surgery and can improve the patient’s experience.
Needle Localization/Open Biopsy
Using mammographic, ultrasound or MRI guidance, the radiologist will place a tiny needle and wire into the suspicious lesion in your breast. The radiologist will confirm the needle is in the correct place and then remove it — but the wire will remain in place.
We will then transport the patient to an outpatient surgical suite to have a surgeon perform the open biopsy.