Ultrasound is frequently used to evaluate breast abnormalities detected by mammography, the patient, or her doctor, and should not be considered a screening procedure. Ultrasound obtains images of the breast from nearly any angle.
Ultrasound-guided breast biopsy is a highly accurate way to evaluate those suspicious masses, and it can help determine whether an area in question is in fact a cyst (non-cancerous) or an increased density of solid tissue (mass). This biopsy procedure can prevent the surgical removal of normal tissue, and eliminates the radiation exposure inherent in using X-Rays to locate a lesion or mass.
It is important to know that most abnormal findings detected during a mammogram are not cancer however; biopsies are the only definitive way to find out whether the abnormality is cancerous.
Ultrasound-Guided Core Needle Biopsy:
Patient comfort, ease of performance, and a high rate of accuracy are some of the reasons core needle biopsies are the most common type of breast biopsy.
While ultrasound-guided breast biopsies are minimally invasive, there is a slight risk of bleeding or infection whenever the skin is penetrated. For this reason, you may be advised to discontinue taking aspirin or blood thinners 7 to 10 days before your procedure.
During the Procedure
You will lie on your back or be turned slightly to the side on a padded table. The radiologist will use an ultrasound probe to locate the lesion or mass. An injection of a local anesthetic will ensure you feel no discomfort.
A very small nick will be made in the skin where the biopsy needle is to be inserted. Using the ultrasound as a guide, the radiologist will insert a hollow-core biopsy needle directly into the mass or lesion. Approximately five tissue samples will be taken, and a clip may be placed at the lesion site so the exact location can easily be found in the future, if surgery becomes necessary. A small compression dressing will be applied to the incision once the biopsy is completed.
Although the procedure itself typically takes about 15 minutes, the entire time spent including preparation and imaging is usually about an hour.
Ultrasound-guided Cyst Aspiration:
About the Procedure
Ultrasound-guided cyst aspiration is a procedure allowing a radiologist to remove fluid from a cyst. Using ultrasound imaging, the radiologist can determine the exact location of the cyst. Precisely positioning a needle within the breast, the radiologist then drains the fluid from the cyst.
There are no diet restrictions prior to this procedure, but you may prefer a light meal so that you will be more comfortable.
During the Procedure
A technologist and radiologist will be working together during your procedure. You will lie on your back or be turned slightly to the side on a padded table. Warm gel will be placed on your breast and ultrasound will be used to identify the location of the cyst(s). The radiologist will insert a thin needle into your breast to drain the cyst(s). You may feel a pinch and slight pressure at this time. The fluid from the cyst will drain into a syringe and the cyst will collapse.
Fluid obtained from a cyst aspiration is usually discarded and only in special circumstances sent for laboratory testing. A bandage will be applied over the puncture site, and you may experience slight bruising or swelling. Cyst aspiration procedures typically take between 15 and 30 minutes to complete.
After the Procedure
You may drive home after either procedure and resume normal activities.
If fluid or tissue samples are sent to the laboratory for analysis, the results will be available in 24 hours. You will receive the results from either CRL or your referring physician.
Any finding that requires immediate attention will be relayed to the referring physician the day of your exam.