Women’s Imaging: Breast Biopsy
What is a breast biopsy and why is it needed?
If a breast imaging test reveals an area of concern, your doctor may recommend a breast biopsy to test a small sample of the breast tissue in a laboratory. The laboratory will be able to tell whether or not the tissue is cancerous. It is important to note that the need for a breast biopsy doesn’t mean you are likely to have cancer; only 1 in 5 breast biopsies test positive for cancer.
There are three kinds of breast biopsies: Stereotactic- (x-ray), ultrasound-, and MRI-guided biopsies. Each is used in different situations and is used to precisely guide the biopsy needle to the exact spot of concern within the breast. Today’s breast biopsies are far less invasive than the surgical biopsies that were required in the past.
What should I expect during a breast biopsy?
During a stereotactic breast biopsy, you will lie face-down on a special table. The breast undergoing the biopsy will be positioned within a hole in the table. Once you are in position, the table will be raised, and your breast will be compressed between two plates. This is to enable mammogram (x-ray) images of the breast to assist the radiologist in positioning the needle in the correct spot within the breast. The needle is then inserted, and a tissue sample is removed.
If you are having an ultrasound-guided biopsy, you will lie on your back or side on a special table. The radiologist will use an ultrasound transducer against your breast to help position the needle in the correct position. The needle is then inserted, and a tissue sample is removed.
If you are having an MRI-guided biopsy, you will lie face-down on a special table. Your breasts will be positioned in a hollow area on the table. The radiologist uses the images from the MRI to locate the area within the breast being sampled. The needle is then inserted, and a tissue sample is removed.
How do I prepare for a breast biopsy?
- Please inform the technologist if you are pregnant.
- You may eat normally on the day of the test and take medications as prescribed.
- Do not wear deodorant, antiperspirant, talcum powder, or any lotions on the day of your biopsy.