Breast Biopsies

If you need a biopsy, these will often be done on the same day as your first appointment. They can either be performed with the help of a mammogram or ultrasound scan machine or by the doctor feeling the lump.
Arrow In this section

If you need a biopsy that is guided by an MRI scan this will be arranged for a different date.

There are three main types of biopsy:

Fine Needle Aspiration (FNA)

This is where a needle similar to a blood-taking needle is used to collect a sample of cells from the breast. No local anaesthetic is needed (the same as if you had a blood test) and the whole procedure is over in less than a minute. The samples can be sent to the lab and looked at the same day.

Core Biopsy

This is the most common type of biopsy taken in our breast clinics. During this procedure you will have a local anaesthetic injection to numb the skin and breast tissue, and a biopsy needle is passed into the area of concern to take samples of breast tissue to be looked at under the microscope. A number of samples are taken to make sure that enough tissue is present to make a diagnosis. You can get some bruising of the skin after this procedure, and the nurse or radiographer present will press on the area after the biopsy is performed to help minimise this. You then will have some paper stitches (Steristrips) placed over the site where the needle went through the skin, with a dressing over the top. More detailed instructions will also be given to you for what to expect after the procedure. You normally return to the clinic the following week for the results.

A Vacuum assisted Biopsy (VAB)

This procedure is performed after a local anaesthetic injection to numb the skin and breast tissue and is done using a mammogram or USS machine to help target the area. A needle is passed to the area of concern and slightly larger samples of breast tissue are taken than are obtained in a core biopsy. You can get some bruising of the skin after this procedure, and the nurse or radiographer present will press on the area after the biopsy is performed to help minimise this. You then will have some paper stitches (Steristrips) placed over the site where the needle went through the skin, with a dressing over the top.

More detailed instructions will also be given to you for what to expect after the procedure. This procedure is sometimes used if your first biopsy has not been able to give us a clear result to be able to tell you the diagnosis. You will often need to come back to the Nightingale Centre on a different day of you need this procedure. You normally will be asked to return to clinic the week after your test, for the results.