Minimally Invasive Biopsies
If your mammogram shows an area of suspicion or you find changes or something
unusual in one of your breasts, your health care provider will recommend
a biopsy. Just because you have a biopsy does not mean you have breast cancer.
A biopsy involves removing a sample of tissue and then having it reviewed
under a microscope by a pathologist. Most biopsy results do not indicate
cancer. Noncancerous breast conditions are very common, and they are never
- There are several ways to do a breast biopsy:
Fine-needle aspiration biopsy - A thin needle with a hollow center is inserted into a lump to remove
a sample of cells or fluid.
Core needle biopsy - A hollow needle with a special tip is used to remove a sample of breast
tissue about the size of a grain of rice.
Vacuum-assisted core biopsy - A special probe that uses a gentle vacuum to remove a small sample of
Open (surgical) biopsy - A small incision is made in the skin and breast tissue to remove all
or part of a lump.
If needed, an ultrasound or MRI may be used to guide the biopsy needle.
Your doctor may decide to use a computer to locate the exact spot for
the biopsy sample using images from mammograms that have been taken from
two angles (stereotactic needle biopsy). A fine wire, clip or marker also
may be used to mark the site.