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Ultrasound Core Biopsy

This is a type of needle biopsy used to evaluate solid abnormalities seen on ultrasound. It is a less invasive alternative to surgical biopsy for most patients with an ultrasound abnormality.

Ultrasound core biopsy is performed on an outpatient basis by one of our doctors with specialty training in breast procedures. The patient lies on her back on a stretcher and the area is identified with ultrasound. The skin is cleansed to avoid infection and the breast is numbed with local anesthetic. A hollow guide is placed into the breast next to the abnormality. The doctor then places a needle through the guide that is used to remove several samples of the abnormality to send to the lab. The procedure is usually painless aside from slight discomfort as the anesthetic is given. A nurse is present with the patient throughout the procedure to provide support and information. The biopsy usually takes fifteen to twenty minutes but we usually allow two hours total time for the patient to spend in the imaging center to allow time for registration, pre-assessment and post-biopsy care.

After the procedure, pressure and ice are applied to the biopsy site to reduce bruising. A small bandage is applied and the patient goes home with ice and written follow-up instructions. The patient may drive herself home and may return to work if she desires. We do ask that for twenty-four hours following the procedure patients avoid lifting objects weighing over ten pounds and avoid vigorous physical activity such as aerobics. We also ask that the patient keep the biopsy site clean and dry for twenty-four hours, avoiding swimming or showering. A tub bath or sponge bath is fine as long as the biopsy site is kept dry.

Results are usually available in one to two days. If results are benign we routinely follow the area again in six months with a mammogram or ultrasound. If there are any suspicious findings on pathology, surgery will be required to remove more tissue from the area.

Patients should avoid aspirin, Advil, Motrin, Aleve, ibuprofen and similar medications for five days prior to the procedure, as these medications can cause bleeding. Acetaminophen (Tylenol) does not increase the chance of bleeding and is the preferred pain medication for the five days preceding the procedure. Patients on Coumadin or Heparin should notify one of our nurses or physicians prior to scheduling their biopsy. On the day of the procedure, the patient should wear a comfortable two-piece outfit, and a bra that can provide support for an ice pack on her way home.

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