Breast Biopsy

Provided by Premier Diagnostic Imaging

Breast biopsy icon from Premier Diagnostic Imaging in Cookeville, TennesseeDuring a breast biopsy, a board certified physician draws a small tissue sample from the breast with a needle.

A pathologist then examines the tissue for irregularities.

The procedure, known as a core needle biopsy is an outpatient procedure.

Why does my doctor want a breast biopsy?

One in eight women will develop breast cancer during her lifetime. Roughly 85% of breast cancers occur in women with no family history of breast cancer. Early detection is key to a more positive prognosis and outcome. The biopsy is part of the detection process.

Your doctor might request a breast biopsy if you or your doctor feels a lump in your breast. Also, your mammogram might show abnormal breast tissue that needs further examination.

Roughly 80% of women who have a biopsy receive good news. A request for a biopsy doesn’t mean you have breast cancer. A biopsy is the best method to determine if the lump or cyst is harmless (benign), or cancerous (malignant).

What kind of procedure can I expect?

Biopsy procedures differ depending on individual scenarios, like the size of the anomaly or lump and where it is located on the breast. Premier Diagnostic Imaging performs ultrasound-guided vacuum assisted core needle biopsy procedures.

The core biopsy procedure is ideal for lumps not felt during a physical breast exam – or a spot that shows up on a mammogram. The core biopsy method is also suitable for fluid-filled lumps or cysts.

How Do I Prepare?

Preparation for a breast biopsy is simple. Notify your doctor about any medications you take, and tell them if you have had a recent illness. Wear loose clothing and remove jewelry.

What Happens During the Procedure?

Core biopsy uses a needle and vacuum assistance to extract a tissue sample from your breast. You will receive an injected numbing agent.

You will lie still on your back on the table during the procedure. The radiologist might apply a gel-like substance on the area of the breast for biopsy. The gel helps the hand-held ultrasound transducer locate the lump or suspicious tissue.

The equipment itself might make some noise, but it is harmless.

The radiologist will insert the needle into the breast. A vacuum attached to the needle withdraws fluid or cellular clusters into the needle for examination. Obtaining the tissue/fluid sample takes about 15 seconds.

You’re done! The procedure from start to finish usually takes 15 to 30 minutes.

What About Side Effects and Aftercare?

A core needle biopsy is less invasive than a surgical biopsy. The procedure results in minimal to no scarring and does not involve radiation of any kind. Slight bruising or tenderness might occur following the procedure. Over-the-counter pain relievers or a cold pack following the process may decrease the minimal discomfort. You will receive instructions for aftercare when the test is over.

Avoid strenuous activity and heavy lifting for 24 hours after the procedure. Tell your doctor if you notice excessive swelling, drainage or heat on the surface of the breast.


A pathologist will review the biopsy sample. Biopsy results will be obtained from the pathologist within 5-7 business days and sent directly to your physician, who will discuss the results with you. Follow further recommendations for care based on your diagnosis and prognosis.


American Cancer Society: https://www.cancer.org/cancer/breast-cancer/screening-tests-and-early-detection/breast-biopsy/fine-needle-aspiration-biopsy-of-the-breast.html

Breastcancer.org https://www.breastcancer.org/symptoms/understand_bc/statistics

National Breast Cancer Foundation: https://www.nationalbreastcancer.org/breast-cancer-biopsy

For more detailed information on any of the biopsies
offered by Premier Diagnostic Imaging, Email or Call Us at (931)-528-1800.

Additional Resources:

Visit https://www.radiologyinfo.org/