Types of Biopsies
A biopsy is a procedure in which a doctor removes a small sample of tissue from the breast for further evaluation by a pathologist. There are two types of biopsies: minimally invasive and surgical.
Minimally Invasive Biopsy
A minimally invasive breast biopsy uses a special needle to sample an abnormal area in the breast. It can be performed on a breast lump without the use of imaging or with imaging guidance on an abnormality seen on an imaging exam. Image-guided biopsy uses mammography (e.g., stereotactic biopsy), ultrasound, or MRI to guide the needle to the abnormal area and to ensure that the sampling of the tissue is accurate. Image-guided needle biopsy usually requires a very small (e.g., 2-5mm) incision, but does not typically need stitches (i.e., sutures). Results of the biopsy are usually available within two working days, and recovery from the procedure usually occurs within 48 hours.
A surgical biopsy makes a small incision in the breast to remove a small sample of tissue or a breast lump. You are given some form of anesthesia to prevent discomfort and will have a surgical scar.
Learn more about breast biopsies from the American Cancer Society.
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