St. Luke's Hospital
Located in Chesterfield, MO
Main Number: 314-434-1500
Emergency Dept: 314-205-6990 Patient Billing: 888-924-9200
Find a Physician Payment Options Locations & Directions
Follow us on: facebook twitter Mobile Email Page Email Page Print Page Print Page Increase Font Size Decrease Font Size Font Size
Meet the Doctor
Spirit of Women
Community Health Needs Assessment
Home > Health Information

Multimedia Encyclopedia


    Breast biopsy - ultrasound

    Biopsy - breast - ultrasound; Ultrasound-guided breast biopsy; Core needle breast biopsy - ultrasound

    A breast biopsy is the removal of breast tissue to examine it for signs of breast cancer or other disorders.

    There are several different types of breast biopsies, including stereotactic, open, and lumpectomy. This article focuses on needle-based, ultrasound-guided breast biopsies.

    How the Test is Performed

    Before the procedure, youare asked to undress from the waist up. You wear a robe that opens in the front.

    Youare awake during the biopsy. You lie on your back. The health care provider first cleans the area on your breast, and injects a numbing medicine.

    • The doctor makes a very small cut on your breast over the area that needs to be biopsied.
    • The doctor uses an ultrasound machine to guide the needle to the abnormal area in your breast that needs to be biopsied.
    • Several biopsies may be taken.
    • A small metal clip or needle may be placed into the breast in the area of the biopsy to mark it, if needed.

    The biopsy is done using one of the following:

    • Fine needle aspiration
    • Hollow needle (called a core needle)
    • Vacuum-powered device
    • Both a hollow needle and vacuum-powered device

    Once the tissue sample has been taken, the catheter or needle is removed. Ice and pressure are applied to the site to stop any bleeding. A bandageis applied to absorb any fluid. Youdo not need any stitches after the needle is taken out. If needed, strips of tape may be placed to close thewound.

    How to Prepare for the Test

    The health care provider will ask questions about your medical history and perform a manual breast exam.

    You must sign an informed consent form. If you are going to have general anesthesia, you may be asked not to eat or drink anything for 8to 12 hours before the test.

    If you take medicines (including aspirin or herbal medications), ask your doctor whether you need to stop taking these before the biopsy.

    Tell your doctor if you may be pregnant before having a biopsy.

    Do notapply lotion, perfume, powder, or deodorant underneath your arms or on your breasts.

    How the Test Will Feel

    When the doctor injects the numbing medicine, it may sting a bit.

    During the procedure, you may feel slight discomfort or light pressure. You should not feel any pain.

    After the test, the breast may be sore and tender to the touch for several days. Do not do any heavy lifting or work with your arms for 24 hours after the biopsy. Use acetaminophen (Tylenol) to relieve pain.

    Although you may have some bruising, there should be no scars left in the breast or on the skin.

    Why the Test is Performed

    An ultrasound-guided breast biopsy may be done to evaluate abnormal findings on a mammogram or breast ultrasound, or during a physical exam.

    To determine whether someone has breast cancer, a biopsy must be done. Tissue and fluid from the abnormal area are removed and examined under a microscope.

    Normal Results

    A normal result means there is no sign of cancer or other breast problems.

    Your doctor or nurse will let you know if and when you need a follow-up mammogram or other tests.

    What Abnormal Results Mean

    A biopsy can identify a number of breast conditions that are not cancer or precancer, including:

    • Fibroadenoma
    • Fibrocystic breast disease
    • Mammary fat necrosis

    Biopsy results may show precancerous breast conditions, such as:

    • Atypical ductal hyperplasia
    • Atypical lobular hyperplasia
    • Intraductal papilloma

    Abnormal results may mean that you have breast cancer. Two main types of breast cancer may be found:

    • Ductal carcinoma starts in the tubes (ducts) that move milk from the breast to the nipple. Most breast cancers are of this type.
    • Lobular carcinoma starts in parts of the breast called lobules, which produce milk.

    Depending on the biopsy results, you may need further surgery or treatment.


    There is a slight chance of infection at the injection or incision site. Excessive bleeding is rare.


    Abeloff MD, Wolff AC, Weber BL, et al. Cancer of the breast. In: Abeloff MD, Armitage JO, Niederhuber JE,et al.,eds. Clinical Oncology. 4th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Churchill-Livingstone; 2008: chap 95.

    Whitman GJ. Ultrasound-guided breast biopsies. Ultrasound Clin. 2006;1:603-615.

    Kim CH, Bassett LW. Imaging-guided core needle biopsy of the breast. In: Bassett LW, Jackson VP, Fu KL, Fu YS, eds. Diagnosis of Diseases of the Breast. 2nd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2005:chap 17.


          A Closer Look

          Talking to your MD

            Self Care

            Tests for Breast biopsy - ultrasound

            Review Date: 2/13/2013

            Reviewed By: Ken Levin, MD, private practice specializing in Radiology and Nuclear Medicine, Allentown, PA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.

            The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

            A.D.A.M. content is best viewed in IE9 or above, Fire Fox and chrome browser.

            Back  |  Top
            About Us
            Contact Us
            Locations & Directions
            Quality Reports
            Annual Reports
            Honors & Awards
            Community Health Needs

            Brain & Spine
            Sleep Medicine
            Urgent Care
            Women's Services
            All Services
            Patients & Visitors
            Locations & Directions
            Find a Physician
            Tour St. Luke's
            Patient & Visitor Information
            Contact Us
            Payment Options
            Financial Assistance
            Send a Card
            Mammogram Appointments
            Health Tools
            My Personal Health
            Spirit of Women
            Health Information & Tools
            Clinical Trials
            Employer Programs -
            Passport to Wellness

            Classes & Events
            Classes & Events
            Spirit of Women
            Donate & Volunteer
            Giving Opportunities
            Physicians & Employees
            For Physicians
            Remote Access
            Medical Residency Information
            Pharmacy Residency Information
            Physician CPOE Training
            St. Luke's Hospital - 232 South Woods Mill Road - Chesterfield, MO 63017 Main Number: 314-434-1500 Emergency Dept: 314-205-6990 Patient Billing: 888-924-9200
            Copyright © St. Luke's Hospital Website Terms and Conditions  |  Privacy Policy  |  Notice of Privacy Practices PDF  |  Patient Rights PDF Sitemap St. Luke's Mobile