Breast biopsy

In cases of conspicuous findings in the breast, a biopsy is performed prior to a surgical procedure to enable pathological examination of the tissue. Since only a small quantity of tissue must be removed during this image-controlled, targeted puncture, a surgical procedure is no longer required as part of diagnostics. The tissue removal is performed as a sonographically controlled procedure or as a vacuum biopsy.

After local anaesthetization (like at the dentist’s), a thin, special puncture needle is placed under ultrasound guidance on the site of the conspicuous finding, and then 3-4 very thin tissue cylinders are removed. The puncture site is bandaged afterwards. The procedure is usually not painful and only takes a few minutes.

A conspicuous finding is localised on the basis of X-ray images from 2 different directions or with the aid of tomosynthesis. Then the target point for the biopsy needle is calculated with the aid of appropriate software. This procedure is used primarily when the finding cannot be exactly detected sonographically. Before the tissue samples are removed, the puncture site is locally anaesthetised so that vacuum biopsy is usually not painful either. The procedure takes about 30 minutes.

According to scientific findings, there is no risk of spread or activation of the tumour due to a biopsy. Since the puncture is performed under image control, the risk of an injury of nearby structures is very small. The risk of infection or prolonged bleeding is also very small.

All previous images should be brought for the examination. The intake of anticoagulants (such as aspirin, Marcumar...) should have been discontinued, after consultation with your physician who prescribed this medication, about one week before the puncture.

The removed tissue samples are sent to a specialised laboratory for further analysis. The result is usually available after a few days.

After the biopsy, the bandage should be left in place for 2 to 3 days. To avoid infection, the puncture area should not be washed during this period.