There are very few words that strike fear into people’s hearts like the word cancer. It conjures up images of chemotherapy, radiation, and hair loss. Breast cancer, in particular, is particularly worrisome for women because it involves an important part of their bodies. In most cases, breast cancer is first detected as a lump in the breasts that is found through regular breast self exams. The diagnosis of cancer is either made or disproved by a breast biopsy that examines the breast tissue for signs of cancer. There are several different types of breast biopsy procedures and most of them are minimally invasive.
One common type of breast biopsy procedure is the surgical biopsy. During a surgical biopsy, an incision is made in the skin near the breast area. The lump, or part of it, is then removed for testing. Surgical biopsy is the more invasive type of biopsy. It is typically used for lumps that are larger, or those that are in a location that makes them easier to remove. A surgical biopsy can also be used when the doctor wants the entire lump removed as soon as possible.
The other type of breast biopsy procedure is the non-surgical biopsy. There are several different procedures for a non-surgical biopsy. The fine needle aspiration and the core needle biopsy both use a small needle to remove tissue from the lump for testing. The core needle biopsy gets a larger tissue sample than the fine needle aspiration, but both are highly effective and non-invasive. The other type of non-invasive breast biopsy procedure is a vacuum assisted biopsy. During this procedure a probe and small vacuum are used to suck out breast tissue for testing. These non-surgical biopsy procedures are often used when the doctor is looking for something that is minimally invasive and has a short recovery time.
Depending on the type of breast biopsy procedure being performed, it can be done either in a clinic or in a hospital. Surgical biopsy procedures typically require a general anesthetic and at least a brief hospital admission. Non-surgical biopsy procedures can often be done in a clinic or as an outpatient procedure in the hospital. Often, they only require a local anesthetic, and can often be performed by your primary doctor. In general, the type of biopsy being performed and the conditions under which it happens are determined by the resources available and the size of the sample needed.
In general, there is little to no pain involved with a breast biopsy procedure. Non-surgical biopsy procedures have a particularly quick recovery time. Even with a surgical biopsy you can expect to be back to your normal activities relatively quickly. In general, recovering from a breast biopsy is not difficult and many women find that all they need is an over the counter pain reliever. If you have a lump or other unusual area in your breast and you feel that you would benefit from a breast biopsy procedure, it is best to discuss this with your doctor. He or she can help you to determine which type of biopsy will be best for your situation and ensure that you recover well from any surgery that is required.