Breast Biopsy (cont.)

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How is a core needle biopsy (CNB) done?

A core needle biopsy (CNB) can also be done in several different ways:

  • Core needle biopsy (CNB) for palpable growths: This procedure is similar to FNAB for palpable growths except that that the needle used has a wider diameter and is equipped with a cutter that removes cores of tissue up to a half-inch long. A key advantage of this procedure is that the samples are larger than in FNAB and thus enhance the possibility of making an accurate laboratory analysis.
  • Guided CNB for Non-Palpable Growths: This procedure also uses a wide needle with a cutter that removes cores of tissue large enough to enhance the accuracy of laboratory analysis. However, because the growth is deep in the breast or otherwise not palpable, stereotactic imaging, ultrasound, or MRI is used to locate the growth.

How is a vacuum-assisted breast biopsy done?

Vacuum-assisted breast biopsy uses a special instrument and imaging guidance to remove breast tissue samples  through a single, small skin incision. This technique allows the surgeon to remove more tissue through a single incision than is possible with a traditional core biopsy and is a much less invasive procedure than an open surgical biopsy.

The vacuum-assisted biopsy involves the placement of a biopsy probe using radiology imaging studies for guidance. Stereotactic mammography, ultrasound, and MRI have all been successfully used to identify the abnormal areas to be sampled by vacuum-assisted breast biopsy. Once the biopsy probe has been positioned, a vacuum pulls the breast tissue through an opening in the probe into the sampling chamber of the device. Then a rotating cutting device in the instrument removes the tissue sample, which is carried through the biopsy probe to a tissue collection receptacle.

The surgeon or radiologist then turns a control knob on the biopsy probe that moves the sampling chamber to a new position. This procedure is repeated until all desired areas have been sampled. In this way, samples can be taken all around a suspicious area through a single insertion of the biopsy probe. With a traditional core biopsy, sampling of multiple areas would involve repeated insertions of the biopsy instrument.

The vacuum-assisted biopsy technique is performed under local anesthesia and leaves a small incision that does not require stitches for closure. It takes less than an hour to perform, and patients can usually return to normal activities soon after the procedure.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 2/10/2014

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