Breast Biopsy

A breast biopsy is a minimally invasive procedure where a small piece of breast tissue is removed and checked in a lab.

Your doctor may recommend a breast biopsy if:

  • A lump or mass is found during breast examination
  • An abnormality is detected on your mammogram
  • You have nipple problems, such as bloody discharge from the nipple
  • Other areas of concern are identified

There may also be other reasons for your doctor to recommend a breast biopsy.

Types of Breast Biopsies

There are several types of breast biopsy procedures. The type of biopsy your doctor may recommend will depend on the location and size of the breast lump or area of concern.

Types of breast biopsies include:

  • Fine Needle Aspiration (FNA). A thin needle is placed into the area of concern and a small sample of fluid or tissue is removed. No incision is necessary. One reason your doctor may recommend an FNA is to help determine if the area of concern is a solid lump or a fluid-filled sac (cyst).
  • Needle Biopsy. A large needle is guided into the area of concern and small cylinders of tissue are removed. A needle biopsy does not require an incision.
  • Open Biopsy. A surgeon makes an incision in the breast and removes all or part of the area of concern.

Special imaging techniques may be used to guide the needles during a breast biopsy procedure:

  • Stereotactic Breast Biopsy. Stereotactic breast biopsy is a non-surgical needle biopsy technique that may be used in place of surgery to determine whether a suspicious mammographic lesion is benign or malignant. This procedure involves an x-ray-guided needle that is controlled by a computer to obtain a tiny sampling of breast tissue.
  • MRI-Guided Breast Biopsy. This technique uses MRI guidance to identify the position of the abnormality and to verify placement of the biopsy needle.
  • Ultrasound-Guided Breast Biopsy. This technique uses ultrasound images of the breast to help guide the biopsy needle to the area of interest.

Conveniently located at the RWJBarnabas Health Ambulatory Care Center in Livingston, NJ, The Breast Center's goal is to exceed the individual expectations of each patient, to decrease the stress commonly associated with breast testing, and to promote breast health and wellness.