A breast biopsy is a procedure designed to remove a small amount of breast tissue from an abnormal finding. The small piece is then evaluated by a pathologist and a diagnosis is made. Most breast biopsies are benign, not cancer.
It is normal to feel nervous about having a biopsy performed. In spite of a woman’s reservations, the results can provide peace of mind since a breast biopsy is generally the definitive method for determining the nature of an abnormality.
A breast biopsy is an outpatient procedure performed with a needle, local anesthesia and generally some form of imaging to guide the needle (most commonly, ultrasound). Years ago, all breast biopsies were open surgical procedures performed under general anesthesia in an operating room in a hospital. That is no longer true. Today, 99% of all biopsies can be done with a needle in an outpatient setting.
Breast biopsies are performed to evaluate an area of concern that was identified during a breast screening. Breast biopsy results are usually available within two to three business days.
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