Breast Biopsies and aspirations
If you or your physician finds a lump in your breast or an abnormal area is found on your mammogram, it is normal for you to feel anxious. Our caring, experienced team is here to help put you at ease and schedule your procedure as quickly as possible. We perform breast biopsies to determine if a breast lump is cancerous or benign (non-cancerous), and we perform breast aspirations to remove fluid from non-cancerous breast cysts.
At any point before, during, and after your breast biopsy or aspiration, our team is here to answer your questions and provide support.
What is a breast biopsy?
A breast biopsy is a procedure in which a physician uses a needle to collect samples from a breast lump. The samples are sent to a lab and examined under a microscope to determine if the lump is cancerous or not. Sixty to 80 percent of biopsies prove the breast abnormality to be benign (non-cancerous).
Biopsies help your doctor determine if you require further treatment for breast cancer and can help your care team detect cancer in its earlier, more treatable stages.
Our board-certified interventional radiology team performs this minimally invasive procedure.
Breast biopsies do not remove all cancerous cells. If your lump is cancerous, you may need surgery, chemotherapy or radiation, or a combination of all three.
What is a breast aspiration?
If your breast lump appears to be a fluid-filled sac called a cyst, your doctor may recommend you undergo a breast aspiration. During an aspiration, your radiologist will use a small needle to puncture the lump and drain the fluid inside, which usually causes the lump to collapse and disappear. This shows your doctor that your lump is in fact a cyst, and not cancerous.
Benefits of breast biopsy
Breast biopsies have several benefits. They:
- Can be performed in a minimally invasive way using ultrasound, digital stereotactic (computerized mammogram) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technology to guide the procedure
- Are safe, accurate, and well-tolerated by most women
- Help detect cancer in earlier stages
- Require little to no recovery time afterward
- Cause little to no scarring
- Allow you to avoid surgery if the lump is benign
- Allow you to begin treatment quickly if cancer is detected
How to prepare for a breast biopsy or aspiration
Our team will provide detailed instructions before your biopsy or aspiration. In general, you should:
- Eat a light meal and stay hydrated with water before the procedure.
- Avoid blood thinners for at least five days prior to the procedure (tell your doctor if you take blood thinners).
- Tell your doctor or nurse if you have any allergies to local anesthesia, medications, adhesive tape, or latex.
- Ask a friend or family member to drive you home after the procedure.