Ultrasound-Guided Breast Biopsy

What is an ultrasound-guided breast biopsy?

An ultrasound-guided breast biopsy may be used when lumps or abnormalities of the breast are found on a mammogram and/or ultrasound. The radiologist uses ultrasound guidance to help guide the biopsy instruments to the area of concern for sampling. A biopsy will determine whether the finding is benign or malignant.

What to Expect

You will be positioned lying face up on the examination table or turned slightly to the side. You will be required to remain still during the procedure. A local anesthetic will be injected into the breast to numb it. Using a transducer, the technologist or radiologist will locate the abnormal area.  A very small incision is made in the skin at the site where the biopsy needle is to be inserted. Using the ultrasound probe, the radiologist will insert the needle and advance it directly into the mass and remove tissue for sampling. The needle will be removed after samples of tissue are taken.

Most people have little or no discomfort during the biopsy. You may feel a slight pin prick from the needle or some pressure when the biopsy needle is inserted.  You should avoid strenuous activity for 24 hours following biopsy.

Patient Preparation

You should wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing for your ultrasound exam. You may need to remove all clothing and jewelry in the area to be examined. You may be asked to wear a gown during the procedure.

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.