Image-Guided Biopsy

An image-guided biopsy uses computerized imaging equipment to pinpoint the area where the sample tissue―or biopsy―will be taken. A minimally invasive procedure, an image-guided biopsy involves a small incision and is performed with local anesthesia, so you can expect to recover quickly and have only a small scar.

Our Women’s Imaging Center offers three types of image-guided biopsy: stereotactic, ultrasound, and MRI. For the most part, the procedures are the same. The biggest difference is the type of equipment used to locate the lump or lesion—a decision based, in part, on where the area of concern is located within the breast and which type of equipment will provide the best view. Your doctor will recommend the best procedure for your particular situation.

Stereotactic core biopsy
With this type of biopsy, the doctor relies on computer images to calculate the exact location of a suspicious area and, using an X-ray-guided needle, obtains a tissue sample. The procedure is done quickly, requires no stitches, and leaves little or no scar. Equally important, studies show that stereotactic biopsy is as accurate (98%) as traditional surgical biopsy.

During the procedure, you lie on your stomach with your breast placed through a hole on a special table. The doctor works from below the table to perform the biopsy. The entire procedure is performed through a small nick in the skin. A needle is inserted and samples are taken and sent to the lab for analysis.

Ultrasound core biopsy

This type of needle biopsy is used to evaluate solid abnormalities. While you lie on your back, we use ultrasound to identify the problem area. Then, we take samples, via needle, to send to the lab.

MRI-guided core biopsy

This type of needle biopsy is performed as a follow-up, after we’ve spotted an abnormal finding on an MRI exam. You will be placed in the MRI scanner just as if you are having an MRI. The radiologist, with assistance from the nurse and technologist, will use the MRI to place a needle in the suspicious area and obtain a tissue sample. The procedure is quick, requires no stitches, and leaves little or no scar.

For all three types of biopsies

Results are usually available in two to four days. If everything is fine, we’ll schedule a follow-up mammogram or ultrasound again in six months. If findings are suspicious, we will recommend surgery to remove more tissue from the area.

Questions? Call our Breast Health Nurse Navigator, Diane Young, RN, at 518-580-2278.

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