RAH offers the full range of breast biopsy services in a convenient, outpatient setting.
If a mammogram or other breast imaging reveals an abnormality, you may be advised to have a breast biopsy. During a biopsy, a small sample of tissue within the breast is removed and sent to a lab to determine whether or not the tissue is concerning.
Of the more than one million breast biopsies performed in the United States every year, only 20% will result in confirmed breast cancer.
Today’s biopsies are far less invasive than the “surgical” biopsies performed in years past. That is because imaging technology is now used to guide biopsies. This results in a more precise biopsy sample, less risk, less discomfort and virtually no scarring.
At RAH, our doctors perform three different kinds of image-guided breast biopsy: X-ray (stereotactic), ultrasound-guided or MRI-guided. The biopsy you have is dependent on which test initially detected the abnormality, the size of the suspicious area and other factors.
This type of biopsy is most often used for calcifications within the breast. Calcifications are most often found on a mammogram, and they are also best seen with the stereotactic system. During a stereotactic biopsy, you will lie face down on a special table and your breast is gently guided through an opening within the table. The x-ray images provided by the stereotactic system help the doctor guide the biopsy needle.
When the abnormality is detected with ultrasound, an ultrasound-guided biopsy is generally recommended. During the procedure, you lie on your back while the doctor uses an ultrasound transducer to confirm the location of the abnormality. The images generated by the ultrasound help the doctor to guide the biopsy needle to the correct location.
Abnormalities that are not well seen with either x-ray or ultrasound may require an MRI-guided biopsy. MRI, or magnetic resonance imaging, uses a powerful magnet, radio waves and a special computer to generate images of breast tissue. During this biopsy procedure, you will lie face down on an MRI table that is then moved into position within the machine. The doctor uses the images created by the MRI to precisely guide the biopsy needle.
During a biopsy, it is possible that a small marking “clip” may be placed at the suspect site within the breast. This is so it can be more easily located if additional intervention is needed.
Preparing for a breast biopsy
- Please do not eat within four hours of your biopsy. You may drink liquids up until one hour before the procedure.
- Let us know if you take blood thinners (e.g. Plavix, Coumadin, Heparin, etc.)
- Wear a comfortable two-piece outfit
- Do not use deodorant, perfume, powder or lotions on or near your breast on the day of your biopsy.
- If your last mammogram was not performed at RAH, please bring a copy of your mammogram report and images.
- If you are having an MRI-guided biopsy, do not wear metal of any kind, including jewelry. Also, inform us if you have a pacemaker or other implanted metal device.
- Following your biopsy, you will receive antiseptic and a band-aid over the skin where the biopsy needle was inserted. You may experience some soreness and you should avoid strenuous activity for the rest of the day. Unless otherwise notified, you may return to work or other normal activities without delay.
How do I obtain results?
After your biopsy is completed, Radiology Associates of Hartford will be happy to answer any questions you have regarding follow-up care with your physician and getting the results of your procedure.
At Radiology Associates of Hartford, the radiologist who performed your biopsy will review the pathology reports and dictate a report of the findings. The result will be delivered to the referring physician. The referring physician will share the results with you.
If the final results are benign, surgery is usually not necessary and patients can be followed conservatively.
Radiology Associates of Hartford has four full-service convenient imaging center locations across Connecticut. We serve patients around Avon, Bloomfield, Enfield and Glastonbury. You have a choice when it comes to where to have your breast biopsy performed. Find out why Connecticut patients and their physicians choose Radiology Associates of Hartford!