Breast cancer remains the most frequently diagnosed cancer in women. Early detection through regular mammograms, improved screening methods, clinical and self exams are saving thousands of lives every year. If a lump deep inside the breast shows up on a mammogram, your doctor can order a minimally invasive breast biopsy.
When a lump is detected, many have thoughts of uncertainty. Prairie Lakes can help patients through this uncertain time and assist in keeping appointments close to home. A minimally invasive breast biopsy can provide a very early diagnosis before breast tumors have a chance to fully develop. Many times these procedures can be scheduled for the next day with no referral by calling the Prairie Lakes General Surgery Clinic at 605-882-6850.
Minimally invasive procedures leave little to no scarring and can be performed in less than an hour. The removed tissue is then analyzed in town at the Prairie Lakes Laboratory for quick results.
About Minimally Invasive Breast Biopsies
Minimally invasive procedures are much less invasive than surgical biopsies. Most importantly, they can provide a very early warning before breast tumors have a chance to fully develop.
- Stereotactic mammography pinpoints the exact location of a breast lesion by using a computer and images taken from two different angles. Using these computer coordinates, a needle is inserted through the skin and is advanced into the lesion. Tissue samples are removed with a vacuum assisted core biopsy device.
- In ultrasound-guided breast biopsy, ultrasound imaging is used to help guide the biopsy vacuum-assisted core biopsy device to the site of the abnormal growth
And it's important to remember that most women who have a biopsy are not diagnosed with cancer. More than 80 percent of all breast lesions identified for biopsy are diagnosed benign or noncancerous and present no health risk to the patient.
What is a Core Biopsy?
A Core Biopsy is the removal of a small piece of tissue for microscopic examination to study the makeup of cells. The entire procedure usually takes about 30 minutes and is completed in five steps:
- Imaging the breast to identify the biopsy area.
- Numbing the breast with medicine.
- Inserting the biopsy device in the breast to retrieve tissue samples
- Performing the biopsy.
- Marking the biopsy site for future reference. Depending on the imaging system used to help guide your biopsy, you may have your breast compressed similarly to the compression used during a mammogram, or a gel may be applied if ultrasound imaging is used.
Understanding Your Procedure
Before Your Procedure
You should inform your doctor of any medications you are currently taking whether prescription or over-the-counter. This includes aspirin, ibuprofen, blood thinners such as Coumadin, natural herbs, vitamin E and other vitamins. Some of these medications may need to be temporarily stopped several days prior to your biopsy. Also, list any allergies you may have. Let your doctor know if you are allergic to local anesthetics, tape, betadine or metal.
During Your Procedure
Note: If you are having an MRI-guided biopsy procedure, you will have an IV inserted into your arm so that a contrast agent can be used to see small details in the breast tissue.
After you have been properly positioned for your biopsy, your physician and a technologist will image the breast and locate the area to be biopsied. Your skin will be cleansed with antiseptic and the area to be biopsied will be numbed. Sometimes, a very small nick is made in the skin to help the biopsy device enter the breast with ease. You may feel some pressure as the device is positioned, but most women report feeling no pain.
The actual biopsy will take a very short time. Multiple samples will be taken. You may hear a "beep" or "click" as tissue samples are collected. The doctor may place a marker in the tissue at the biopsy site for future reference to identify the exact location of the biopsy. The marker is made of titanium and poses no health or safety risk. You will not feel or notice the marker after placement.
After your procedure
Pressure will be applied to the biopsy site to help prevent bruising. This usually takes only a few minutes. A small adhesive bandage or adhesive gel will be placed over the nick and you will be provided with a cold pack to apply over the biopsy site. In some instances, a compression wrap bandage may be placed around the chest to minimize chances of swelling or bruising. The collected tissue samples will be sent to the lab for analysis.
The doctor may prescribe a non-aspirin pain reliever to help alleviate any possible discomfort and detailed post-biopsy instructions will be provided. Most women can resume normal daily activities within 24 hours following their procedure. Your doctor will contact you after receiving your biopsy results and then instruct you on any followup care that may be necessary.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How much breast tissue will be removed? A: Only the necessary amount of tissue needed to ensure an accurate diagnosis.
Q: How long will the biopsy take? A: Biopsy time varies from case to case. The average biopsy procedure takes 30 - 45 minutes from the time you enter the exam room until the time you leave the hospital.
Q: Will I have a scar? A: Visible evidence of where the biopsy device was inserted into the breast is extremely small and fades to a natural skin tone over time.
Q: Will I experience any pain during the procedure? A: You might feel a slight sting or pinch when the numbing medication is being inserted into the breast. Numbing the breast prior to the biopsy causes the rest of the procedure to be relatively pain free, however you may feel some pressure or pinching during the actual biopsy.
Q: What possible side effects should I know about? A: Your breast may be slightly tender and you may experience some mild bruising at the biopsy site. You will be provided with post-biopsy care instructions.
Fact: Most women who have a biopsy are not diagnosed with cancer. More than 80% of all breast lesions identified for biopsy are diagnosed benign or noncancerous and present no health risk to the patient.