If an imaging test shows a suspicious growth in your breast, a biopsy is your next step. These minimally invasive procedures use computer imaging to locate the growth and take small tissue samples to study. Your doctors will choose the biopsy method best suited to your type of breast lump or abnormality.
Image-guided biopsy methods have advantages over traditional surgical biopsy:
It’s important to know that with any of these methods, about 80% of abnormal growths turn out to be noncancerous.
When a mammogram shows a breast abnormality, this special mammography machine uses ionizing radiation to guide the radiologist’s instruments to the site of the abnormal growth. Stereotactic breast biopsy is also an excellent way to evaluate calcium deposits or tiny masses that are not visible on ultrasound.
An ultrasound-guided breast biopsy can be performed when a breast ultrasound shows an abnormality. It can evaluate lumps under the arm or near the chest wall, which are hard to reach with stereotactic biopsy. There are times when your doctor may decide that ultrasound guidance for biopsy is appropriate even for a mass that can be felt.
This type of biopsy is most helpful when MR (magnetic resonance) imaging shows a breast abnormality. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) helps guide the radiologist’s instruments to the site of the abnormal growth.
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