An Overview of Ultrasound-Guided Breast Biopsy

Abnormalities or lumps in the breasts are usually detected through mammography, physical examination or other imaging studies, but it is not always possible to identify whether a growth is cancerous or benign.

A breast biopsy needs to be carried out for removal of some cells. This can be done surgically or using an invasive procedure. The cells can be removed from a suspicious area in the breasts. Next, the cells are examined under a microscope for identification. In general biopsy takes two forms, image-guided needle biopsy and ultrasound-guided breast biopsy.

During ultrasound-guided breast biopsy, the ultrasound imaging is utilized for guiding the instruments of a radiologist towards the area of abnormal growth. An ultrasound-guided breast biopsy needs to be carried out if a breast ultrasound reveals abnormalities like an area of abnormal change in tissues, a suspicious solid mass and any distortion in breast tissue’s structure.

Ultrasound guidance can be utilized in four kinds of biopsy procedures. These include:
  • Core needle (CN) that utilizes a large hollow needle for removal of a single sample of breast tissue per insertion.
  • Wire localization: In this technique a guide wire is positioned in suspicious area. This enables the surgeon to find the lesion for surgical biopsy.
  • Fine needle aspiration (FNA): An extremely small needle is utilized for extraction of cells or fluids from the abnormal area.
  • Vacuum-assisted device (VAD): A vacuum powered instrument is utilized for collection of multiple tissue samples in a single needle insertion.
The procedure of ultrasound-guided breast biopsy is less time-consuming, economical and involves a shorter recovery time. However, it also involves the risk of infection.

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