Ultrasound-guided breast biopsy is a form of image-guided biopsy that uses ultrasound to help your radiologist locate an abnormality and guide a core-sampling needle to the area to remove a small amount of tissue. This tissue sample is then sent to a lab for analysis.
Done at ARA facilities, ultrasound-guided breast biopsy uses local anesthesia, takes about an hour to an hour and a half, is much less invasive than surgical biopsy and leaves little or no scarring.
A breast biopsy is often recommended based on an abnormal finding on a mammogram or other form of breast imaging. Most breast masses or other changes are not cancer, but a biopsy is the only way to be sure if a breast change is benign (not cancer) or malignant (cancer).
- Ultrasound-guided breast biopsy is less invasive than surgical biopsy, can be performed quickly, heals quickly, and leaves little or no scarring. After avoiding strenuous physical activity for a day, patients can resume normal activities.
- Ultrasound-guided breast biopsy can be performed at ARA facilities – no hospital visit is necessary.
- Ultrasound-guided breast biopsy uses ultrasound technology to locate the biopsy site, so no ionizing radiation (X-rays) is used.
- This type of breast biopsy allows the radiologist to guide the needle to the biopsy site while viewing an ultrasound image of your breast in real time. It is an excellent biopsy option for sampling abnormalities identified with ultrasound.
- Ultrasound-guided breast biopsy is generally not uncomfortable and uses local anesthetic.
- It is less expensive than surgical biopsy and heals more quickly.
- There is a small risk of bleeding or the formation of a hematoma.
- There can be some discomfort after the procedure, but this is easily controlled by non-prescription pain medication.
- There is a small chance of infection at the biopsy site. You will be given instructions on how to care for the tiny incision, but infection is very rare.
- Prior to the biopsy, a technologist and radiologist will explain the procedure thoroughly and answer any questions you may have.
- When you arrive, you will be asked to change into a gown.
- You will be positioned lying flat or slightly on your side on an examination table.
- The radiologist or technologist will place a warm, water-based gel on your skin, then use the ultrasound transducer to locate the suspicious area to be biopsied. A local anesthetic will be applied to numb the skin and breast tissue underneath. The radiologist will then insert a hollow needle into the suspicious area and obtain tissue samples.
- A small clip will be placed in the sampled area to mark the location of the biopsy. After the biopsy you will have a mammogram to record the position of the clip. This is done so that radiologists who read your mammograms in the future will know that a biopsy has been performed in that area of your breast.
- Most patients report little or no discomfort from the biopsy. Afterward, a bandage is placed on the breast. No sutures are needed. There is usually little bleeding and little or no scarring.
- The biopsy procedure takes approximately 5 minutes, but you will be on the table for 20 to 30 minutes and in the ARA offices for an hour to an hour and a half.
- Please plan to relax the day of your biopsy. We also request that you avoid strenuous activities such as intensive exercise, running, or lifting heavy objects for the rest of the day.
- Make sure and bring your provider referral to your appointment.
- If you take any blood-thinning medications, aspirin, or products containing aspirin, please contact our office for instructions on discontinuing the medications prior to your biopsy.
- Please bring or wear a tight-fitting bra for after the procedure.
- Since you will undress from the waist up for the exam, you may wish to wear a two-piece outfit.
- The exam will last one and a half to two hours.
Your tissue sample will be sent to a lab for analysis. Depending on the lab, results will be sent to your physician within 2 to 3 days. Please contact your physician for your test results. Results will also be posted on your patient portal after the report is finalized.