An ultrasound biopsy is a form of core needle biopsy. A core needle biopsy is a procedure used to determine whether a suspicious calcification or lump is cancer. Some lumps look much the same whether they are benign or cancerous, and the only way to find out is to remove a piece of the lump with a biopsy. The tissue removed is then sent to a pathologist who examines it under a microscope and determines whether or not it is cancerous.
Core needle biopsies are different from surgical biopsies, in that only small pieces of the lump are removed through a very small cut in the skin. Surgical biopsies usually remove the entire lump through a larger cut in the skin. Since most lumps are benign, doctors recommend core needle biopsies in most cases. Both types of biopsies, surgical and core needle, have the same accuracy rate. Core needle biopsies include stereotactic biopsies using x-ray, ultrasound biopsies and MRI guided biopsies.
An ultrasound biopsy is done when a lump can be seen with ultrasound. Usually ultrasound biopsies are the quickest and easiest of all biopsy procedures. You will lie on your back or slightly on your side, just as if a routine ultrasound is being performed.
During an ultrasound biopsy, the radiologist injects local anesthetic to numb the area. Through a small cut in the skin a needle is inserted and pieces of tissue are removed. This incision is so small that stitches are unnecessary.
A small metal clip is placed in the area of the biopsy. The clip helps identify the mass in future mammograms to prevent re-biopsy of the area. Also, if the lump is a small cancer, the clip helps the surgeon find and remove this very small area accurately.
You will be instructed to keep the breast area dry for 24 hours. Strenuous activity such as weight lifting or aerobic activity should be avoided during this time. Most women find that they can resume their normal activities the next day. It is important to carefully follow the post-procedure instructions so any circumstances specific to you are taken care of properly. It is normal to have bruising after a breast biopsy. In order to reduce the amount of bruising, the nurse will apply pressure to the biopsy site at the end of the procedure. You will be instructed to place ice on your breast at intervals during the remainder of the day. As with any needle procedure, bleeding and infection at the biopsy site can occur, so be sure to follow all instructions carefully.
Usually the pathology results are ready within a few days. This report will go to your referring physician and your breast radiologist. Your referring physician or breast radiologist will call you to inform you of the results, ask how you are healing and answer any questions or concerns you might have.
If it is determined that you need an ultrasound biopsy, your referring physician will be consulted, after which his or her office will send orders for the procedure to the Breast Center. Once these orders are received, a nurse will contact you to schedule your biopsy and have a pre-procedure phone consultation. The nurse will give you specific instructions about what to do before and after the procedure.
If you have questions or concerns about your procedure, please contact the Breast Center nurse at 281-274-8343, or to schedule an appointment call 281-242-PINK (7465).