A breast biopsy is a procedure in which your physician takes out cells or a small piece of tissue from a piece of your breast. They examine it under a microscope for signs of cancer. It’s the only way to know if a possible trouble spot is cancer. If something suspicious is found during a routine breast exam, mammogram, or ultrasound, this test may be recommended. A breast biopsy procedure will be based on things like the size of the lump or suspicious area, where it is, whether there’s more than one unusual area and if you have any other medical problems. The sample of tissue can be taken through surgery or through a procedure called a minimally invasive biopsy. Minimally invasive biopsies may be done through a fine-needle aspiration, an ultrasound-guided core biopsy, a vacuum-assisted breast biopsy, a stereotactic biopsy, an open excisional biopsy, or a sentinel node biopsy.

The risks of biopsies are relatively safe but do have a few side effects that may occur such as bruising, swelling, mild pain, bleeding, and infection. The change in shape and appearance may also be noticeable depending on how much tissue the Physician removes as well as how it heels.

Breast biopsy results turnaround depends on the type of biopsy done. Core needle biopsies are done with imaging, so you usually confirm during the biopsy itself that the correct area was sampled. It may take several days for a pathologist to look at the sample from your biopsy and prepare a report on it. Your doctor will discuss the findings with you. If the report says you have normal or benign tissue, and your doctor still thinks the area is suspicious, you may need to have a second procedure. If your biopsy shows that you have breast cancer, the pathologist’s report will include details about the tumor. This will help your doctor recommend a treatment plan.

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