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Guided Needle Biopsy

An Ultrasound Guided Needle Biopsy is performed when the abnormal area in the breast is too small to be felt, making it difficult to locate the lesion by hand (called palpation). In ultrasound-guided breast biopsy, ultrasound imaging is used to help guide the radiologist's instruments to the site of the abnormal growth.

Your doctor may recommend an Ultrasound Guided Needle Biopsy to help diagnose:

  • A suspicious solid mass
  • A distortion in the structure of the breast tissue
  • An area of abnormal tissue change

You will be positioned lying face up on the examination table or turned slightly to the side. A local anesthetic will be injected into the breast to numb it. Pressing the transducer to the breast, the sonographer or radiologist will locate the lesion. A very small nick is made in the skin at the site where the biopsy needle is to be inserted. Using an ultrasound probe to visualize the location of the breast lump, the radiologist inserts a biopsy needle through the skin, advances it into the mass and removes tissue samples. If a surgical biopsy is being performed, ultrasound may be used to guide a wire directly into the mass to help the surgeon locate the area for excision.

With continuous ultrasound imaging, the physician is able to view the biopsy needle or wire as it advances to the location of the lesion in real-time. A small marker may be placed at the site so that it can be located in the future if necessary. Once the biopsy is complete, pressure will be applied to stop any bleeding and the opening in the skin is covered with a dressing. No sutures are needed. A mammogram may be performed to confirm that the marker is in the proper position. This procedure is usually completed within an hour.

Prior to a needle biopsy, you should report to your doctor all medications that you are taking, including herbal supplements, and if you have any allergies, especially to anesthesia. Your physician will advise you to stop taking aspirin or a blood thinner three days before your procedure. Also, inform your doctor about recent illnesses or other medical conditions. You may want to have a relative or friend accompany you and drive you home afterward. This is recommended if you have been sedated.

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One of the most widely used diagnostic tools in modern medicine.

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