You will be awake during your biopsy and should have little or no discomfort. The procedure itself will usually take less than one hour.
The first part of the procedure will seem much like your original ultrasound. While lying on your back or turned slightly on your side, your breast will be scanned to find the abnormality. Then the radiologist/technician will mark your skin over the area.
The radiologist will clean your breast and then numb the area with enough anesthetic to insure that you will not feel discomfort during the procedure. At times, ultrasound is also used to guide the injection of the anesthetic along the route to the mass. The anesthetic used is very similar to what is used at the dentist.
You may feel a sting or pinch as the medication is injected. After the anesthetic has taken effect, the radiologist will insert a small guide to allow the biopsy needle to pass through the skin easily.
Using ultrasound guidance, a hollowcore needle or vacuum assisted needle is placed in the breast, guided to the location of the mass and specimens are collected.
Once the placement of the needle is confirmed, you will be asked to remain motionless while the samples are taken.
Ultrasound transmits a visual image during the entire procedure, enabling the physician to view the procedure on a video screen and ensure accurate placement of the needle.
There are two methods used to collect the tissue sample.
One is the core biopsy method, which is conducted using a hollowcore needle. The inside of the needle holds the tissue sample until the needle is withdrawn and it is placed in a specimen container. This may be repeated multiple times.
The other method uses a vacuum assisted device (VAD). When the VAD is used, once the needle is in place, a vacuum is used to pull the tissue into the specimen collector.
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