Check out these quick procedures for studying abnormal breast tissue and decreasing pain.

Breast Biopsy & Aspiration

What It Is
Breast biopsy is a procedure in which abnormal tissue is removed then evaluated by a pathologist. Aspiration is a procedure that involves draining fluid from a breast cyst to alleviate symptoms or pain. Fluid from this test may be sent to pathology in certain cases.

Who It’s For
Some women who have an abnormal mammogram or breast ultrasound may need to have a biopsy to determine exactly what the abnormality is. While most breast irregularities are benign, a biopsy can help your doctor find out if it’s benign or not. If cancer is present, finding it early can improve treatment options.

What To Expect
Before the biopsy, the skin is cleaned and a local anesthetic is used to numb the breast. Ultrasound will be used to guide a specially designed needle to the area of interest. A small amount of tissue will be taken and sent to a laboratory for a pathologist to look at under a microscope. The pathologist will determine what the irregularity is and send a report of the findings to your healthcare provider. This type of biopsy can cause some bruising but usually doesn’t leave any scarring. Stitches are typically not needed and adhesive tape is used to close the wound. It’s recommended to avoid heavy lifting for a day or so.

For aspiration, ultrasound will be used to guide the needle to the right spot. The doctor will look at the fluid that is drawn out to determine if the cyst is benign. If the fluid appears abnormal, the doctor may decide to send it to the laboratory to look at under a microscope. In these instances, the pathologist will determine what types of cells are in the fluid and send a report of the findings to your healthcare provider.