If a lump or abnormality in your breast is found, you may be referred to a surgeon who will order or perform a procedure to give you an accurate diagnosis.
Usually this happens after an abnormal mammogram or ultrasound is done of the affected breast.
There are three types of breast biopsies:
- Needle Biopsy: A needle is inserted into the lump and some cells or fluid is aspirated. A Core needle will take a sample of tissue. This is done with local anesthesia (numbing of the area).
- Image-Guided Biopsy: Sometimes you can’t feel the lump in your breast, but it can be visualized with an X-ray device. In this situation, the X-ray device can help pinpoint the abnormality while a core needle or vacuum-assisted probe is used to gather a sample of tissue. This is done with local anesthesia.
- Surgical Biopsy: Part or all of the lump or abnormality is removed with this procedure. If the abnormality cannot be visualized, a wire may be placed in your breast near the affected area in X-ray before your procedure. This is done by the radiologist under local anesthesia before your surgery. The surgeon will then follow the wire and remove the lump while you are under general anesthesia. The wire will be removed before you wake up.
This is a surgical procedure done under general anesthesia to remove a suspicious lump or a known cancer from the breast. This surgery leaves as much breast tissue as possible. The surgeon makes an incision on the breast from which he will remove the tumor and a small surrounding margin of normal tissue. At this time, if the lump is cancerous, the surgeon may remove one or more lymph nodes to have them screened for cancer cells. This is called a Sentinel Node Biopsy.
Mastectomy is the surgical procedure to remove the entire breast tissue under general anesthesia. These procedures usually require a one night stay in the hospital.
There are two types of mastectomies: Simple and Modified Radical
- Simple Mastectomy: all breast tissue, a strip of skin, and the nipple is removed.
- Modified Radical Mastectomy: all breast tissue, a strip of skin plus the nipple and some of the axillary lymph nodes are removed.
Both of these procedures leave as much skin as possible for breast reconstruction at a later time if so desired.