Breast Screening & Wellness Center
Have you felt a lump?
You may have felt a lump in your breast, or your healthcare provider may have noticed a change during an exam. While it’s normal to worry, keep in mind that most breast lumps are not due to cancer. In fact, many require little or now treatment.
To find the cause, you may need to have a biopsy, a procedure to remove a sample of tissue. There are several types of biopsies, the choice of which type depends on many factors, including appearance, size, shape, location, or abnormality. Your health history also may be a determining factor. You and your doctor will determine the one that is right for you.
Type of biopsies
There are different types of biopsies, and which type of biopsy you have will be determined by your doctor and your specific situation.
Percutaneous uses needles or special probes to remove the sample, while surgical biopsies require an incision in the skin. Image-guided biopsies, such as ultrasound or MRI, may be used to help locate the tissue to be sampled, and some procedures use X-rays (mammography) to pinpoint the tissue.
- A local anesthetic may be used to numb the skin over the biopsy site.
- With fine needle aspiration, a very thin needle is used to remove the sample.
- With core needle biopsy, a hollow needle is used to remove the tissue sample.
- With vacuum-assisted biopsy, the probe often is inserted only once. More than one sample can be taken without removing the probe.
- A small clip may be left inside the breast to mark the biopsy site making it easier to locate the site if future testing or treatment is needed.
You can go home shortly after your biopsy, no matter which method is used, and can return to your normal routine in a day or two. You may have some bruising and swelling for a few days, and pain medications may be prescribed. Ice packs can help ease minor soreness, bruising, and swelling. And be sure to care for your incision as directed by your doctor.
Waiting for your biopsy results can be difficult but your doctor will promptly contact you within days to discuss the results and will let you know if any follow-up treatment is needed.