Click on a topic below for more information.

What is Breast Cancer? What are the Signs of Breast Cancer?
What are the Risks for Breast
What are the different kinds of breast biopsy?
What are the advantages of
Digital Mammography?

What are the different kinds of breast biopsy?

Fine Needle Aspiration(FNA)may be done on a lump in your breast that your doctor can feel. A small needle, like that used to draw a blood sample, is inserted into the lump and a few cells are drawn up into the tip of the needle. They are then immediately put onto glass slides and sent to the Pathologist to be examined. While this test can frequently indicate whether or not the cells are cancerous, it may be impossible to tell whether or not the cancer is invasive.

IMAGE GUIDED BIOPSY may be done using guidance of the ultrasound, mammogram or MRI. Sometimes an abnormality in the breast is visible on one, two or all three of the imaging techniques generally used to evaluate the breast. Which one is used to do a biopsy depends primarily on which method gives the clearest picture of the abnormality.   

  • Ultrasound biopsy uses ultrasound to locate the abnormality in the breast. After a small injection of local anesthesia, a specialized biopsy needle is guided into the spot using ultrasound visualization, and several cores of tissue are taken for analysis.
  • Stereotactic biopsy is done for spots that can be seen on mammography but not on ultrasound. This biopsy is also done using local anesthesia. While lying on your stomach, with the breast being held in place by mammogram plates, mammograms of the breast are taken at different angles, and a computer calculates exactly where the abnormality is. The doctor then injects local anesthesia and guides the biopsy needle precisely to the spot identified by the computer. Several pieces of tissue are then removed and sent for analysis to the Pathologist.
  • MRI guided biopsy is similar to stereotactic biopsy but is done while you are in the MRI machine. Again a computer calculates exactly where the abnormal spot is. The doctor gives local anesthesia and guides the biopsy needle into the area identified by the computer and takes several pieces of tissue to be sent to the Pathologist.

SURGICAL EXCISION WITH WIRE LOCALIZATIONis an outpatient procedure (Same Day Surgery) that can be done for abnormalities on imaging that are non-palpable (cannot be felt), if none of the biopsy techniques described is appropriate or feasible. After the abnormal area is located using mammography or ultrasound, local anesthesia is given and a needle is inserted into the breast. A thin, flexible wire is the passed through the needle to mark the spot. One end of the wire is in the breast, and the other end comes out through the skin, where it is secured in place with a sterile dressing. The patient is then taken to the operating room where, using local anesthesia and intravenous sedation, the breast tissue localized by the wire marker is removed. The tissue is sent to Pathology for analysis. This is also the technique used for lumpectomy for cancers that are non-palpable.

   For further information about The Breast Center at Nyack Hospital, please call 845.348.8551.