Ultrasound Fine Needle Aspiration Biopsy or Core Biopsy
In an ultrasound guided biopsy, ultrasound images are used to help
guide the radiologist’s biopsy needle to the site of the suspicious
imaging findings, usually a breast mass. Ultrasound is an imaging
technique that uses sound waves to produce detailed images of the
structures in the breast.
An ultrasound-guided biopsy can be performed using different kinds
of needles, which the radiologist will decide which will be most
appropriate in your case. A fine needle removes cells (called a fine
needle aspiration) while small pieces of tissue samples are removed
with a hollow needle (called a core biopsy). A radiologist may also
decide to do a core biopsy with an additional feature using vacuum
assistance to obtain samples.
For an ultrasound-guided procedure, you will lie on your back on an
ultrasound table. You may be asked to raise the arm on the same side
as the breast biopsy into a position above your head. This will help
get a better quality image of the breast tissue. The ultrasound
technologist will locate the mass to be biopsied with the ultrasound
images and make a guiding mark on the skin with an ink pen. The skin
will then be cleansed with antiseptic. The radiologist will use
ultrasound images during the biopsy to give numbing medication.
If a core biopsy is being performed, a small skin incision measuring
about ¼ inches (about 6 millimeters) long is made, through which the
biopsy needle is inserted. After locating the mass in the breast with
ultrasound, the radiologist guides the needle to that area and takes
several core samples of breast tissue to be sent to the pathologist
for processing and analysis underneath a microscope.
If a fine needle aspiration is being performed, the radiologist
guides the needle to the mass with ultrasound to obtain samples.
In the case of core biopsies and some fine needle aspirations, after
removal of the biopsy specimens, one or more small metal markers
measuring about 1/8 inch long (3 millimeters) are usually placed in
the breast to mark the biopsy site in case surgery is needed at a
later time. There are no known harmful effects from the metal markers,
but occasionally the marker moves to a site in the breast that is some
distance away from the biopsy site. The markers do not set off metal
detectors in the airport, are safe for future MRI, and are made of
metals that have been used in other implantable devices.
After the biopsy is completed, firm pressure is placed over the
biopsy site to help control the small amount bleeding that occurs
during and following the biopsy. A bandage will be applied at the
entry site and instructions for caring for the biopsy site are
explained to you. A light mammogram may be performed after the biopsy.