Needle Biopsy

Once an abnormality is identified in the breast a sample of tissue is required to make a definite diagnosis.

In the past all lumps were removed surgically but this meant that many unnecessary operations were performed to remove benign lumps and even simple fluid filled cysts.

Today a diagnosis can usually be made pre-operatively using percutaneous image guided needle biopsy.

These outpatient procedures  only take a few minutes to complete.

Biopsies are  done with ultrasound guidance as this improves speed,accuracy and comfort of the procedure.

All needle biopsies are done with local anaesthetic and are usually not painful.
Fine needle aspiration biopsy

A thin needle attached to a syringe is passed backwards and forwards through the lump with suction applied to the syringe. Individual cells are sucked up into the syringe and are then sprayed onto a slide for examination under the microscope.
Core biopsy

A slightly larger needle with a small groove is fired into the lump by a spring loaded device. This removes a small cylinder of tissue for examination. A small cut is made in the skin to allow passage of the needle. 3 or 4 samples are taken and then a waterproof plastic dressing is applied. This can be left on for about 5 days allowing you to shower and bath. This method provides actual tissue rather than individual cells and a more detailed report can be provided by the pathologist.

 
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Trevor Smith MBChB FCS

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