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Women's Health

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Breast Biopsy


How It Is Done continued...

The small cut made for the needle does not usually need stitches. Pressure is put on the needle site to stop any bleeding. A bandage is put on. A small metal marker (clip) is usually placed in the area where the biopsy sample was taken. This is done to locate the exact spot where the tissue sample was taken.

The metal marker will stay in your breast if you do not have cancer. You will not be able to feel it, and it will not set off metal detectors. You can still have an MRI safely. When you have mammograms in the future, the radiologist will be able to see the metal marker.

This type of breast biopsy takes about 60 minutes. But most of this time is needed for the mammogram or MRI and finding the area for the biopsy.

Vacuum-assisted biopsy

A vacuum-assisted biopsy is done by a radiologist or a surgeon. This method may be used for a core needle biopsy or a stereotactic biopsy. The biopsy may be done while you sit or lie on an examination table. Or you will lie on your stomach on a special table that has an opening for your breast. A mammogram, ultrasound, or MRI is used to find the exact site for the biopsy.

Your doctor numbs your breast with a shot of local anesthetic. Once the area is numb, a small cut is made in your skin. A hollow probe with a special tip is put into the breast. Tissue is gently vacuumed into the probe. With this type of biopsy, the doctor can take more than one sample without removing the probe.

After the probe is removed, pressure is put on the site to stop any bleeding. The small cut does not need stitches and leaves only a small scar.

A vacuum-assisted core biopsy takes less than an hour.

Open biopsy

An open biopsycamera.gif is done by a general surgeon, gynecologist, or family medicine doctor. The biopsy may be done in a surgery clinic or the hospital.

You will need to take off all or most of your clothes above the waist. You will be given a gown to use during the biopsy. The biopsy will be done while you sit or lie on an examination table. Your hands may be at your sides or raised above your head (depending on which position makes it easiest to find the lump).

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: November 14, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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