March 7, 2024

Breast Biopsy Guide: Preparation, Procedure, and Understanding Results

Female medical provider giving a consultation to another female woman in an orange shirt

Maintaining breast health involves routine care from a trusted provider — including having regular exams that can indicate changes or concerns and, sometimes, diagnostic screening tests, such as a breast biopsy. A breast biopsy is a crucial diagnostic tool that our breast cancer surgeons in NJ use to assess any unusual symptoms or issues patients experience.

While hearing you need a breast biopsy may feel alarming, understanding its purpose and what to expect can help ease anxiety. This guide will walk you through the entire process, from understanding the importance of breast biopsies to preparing for the procedure, the biopsy itself, interpreting results, and the potential next steps.

Whether you need a biopsy due to a potential breast cancer lump or other concerning symptoms, here’s what you need to know to navigate the journey with knowledge and confidence.

Preparing for Your Breast Biopsy

As the day of your breast biopsy approaches, taking the necessary steps to prepare can help make it a smoother and more comfortable experience. Before your procedure, you may have special instructions regarding dietary and medication restrictions. Tell our team about any medications you are taking and whether you have any known allergies. Be sure to follow any recommendations from our team to ensure maximum safety for your procedure.

What to bring and wear for your biopsy

  • Essential Documents: Pack your essential documents, including identification, insurance information, and any paperwork your healthcare team provides to streamline the check-in process and ensure all necessary administrative details are in order.
  • Comfortable Clothing: Opt for loose, comfortable clothing on the day of your biopsy — consider wearing a front-opening shirt or blouse to simplify changing into a gown for the procedure.
  • Personal Comfort Items: Bring personal comfort items, such as a sweater or blanket, to help you stay warm and at ease before and after the procedure.
  • Supportive Undergarments: Choose a supportive bra without underwires to wear after the biopsy. This can provide comfort and support during the recovery period.

Remembering details for a procedure can feel overwhelming, especially when it relates to breast health concerns. To make preparing simpler, we offer an in-depth guide to breast cancer surgery preparation, including everything you need to know about common diagnostic, testing, and treatment options.

The Breast Biopsy Procedure

Our breast cancer surgeons in NJ perform several types of breast biopsies. We choose the biopsy method based on various factors, such as the breast tissue’s location and the lump’s size. Depending on your preferences and which biopsy we choose, you may have local anesthesia, where you will stay awake and the area of concern will be numb, or general anesthesia, which will put you to sleep for the procedure. Breast biopsies generally don’t require an overnight stay in the hospital, and recovery is usually quick.

Types of Breast Biopsies

Our array of breast biopsy options includes:

Fine-Needle Aspiration Biopsy: This technique involves using a thin needle to withdraw liquid and cells for testing. It is preferred when the physician suspects the cyst or lump is fluid-filled.

Core-Needle Biopsy: A hollow needle is utilized to extract a sample for more solid masses of tissue. Local anesthesia is administered to ensure patient comfort during this procedure.

Surgical Biopsy: The most comprehensive biopsy method, this procedure involves the removal of a larger tissue section from the breast. The surgeon makes a small incision to extract the lump and surrounding tissue.

Various specialized tools aid in guiding the needle and facilitating the biopsy process, including:

Ultrasound-Guided Breast Biopsy: Here, imaging equipment assists the physician in pinpointing the exact location of the questionable tissue before inserting the biopsy needle.

Stereotactic Core Biopsy: Using mammogram images, the physician precisely directs the biopsy needle to the targeted spot in the breast, ensuring accuracy and efficiency during the procedure.

Watch Dr. Desiree D’Angelo explain the key differences between an ultrasound-guided biopsy and a stereotactic core biopsy.

Interpreting Your Breast Biopsy Results

After your breast biopsy, the best thing you can do is relax until you hear from your doctor. Studies show that most breast biopsies are benign. We’ll submit your tissue sample to a pathologist, who will examine your biopsy and produce a pathology report with detailed information about the tissue taken from your body.

A pathology report will indicate whether cancer cells were detected, the type of cancer, and how much it has progressed. If your sample comes back as benign, the doctor will recommend a follow-up imaging plan for your breasts.

Next Steps After a Breast Biopsy

Our breast doctors help patients in NJ with targeted breast cancer treatments tailored to each individual, depending on a patient’s situation and preferences. If your biopsy shows breast cancer, we offer various breast cancer surgery options, including:

At Premier Surgical Network, we believe in providing comprehensive breast cancer treatment that guides patients through the entire journey. As part of this commitment, we also offer advanced breast reconstruction procedures to help each patient feel their best.

A breast biopsy is an invaluable screening tool that can provide patients peace of mind as well as direction on how to proceed with treatment. If you are concerned about your breast health and need a consultation, we are here to offer support and guidance. Make an appointment with our breast surgeons in NJ today.