Breast biopsy - ultrasound

Breast Biopsy & Ultrasound: All You Need to Know

Breast biopsy and ultrasound are two medical imaging procedures for diagnosing breast masses or tumors. A breast biopsy is the removal of a sample of tissue from the breast, which is then examined under a microscope to check for any abnormalities or malignancies. Ultrasound is an imaging technique which uses sound waves to create two-dimensional images of the breast structures.


Patients may be asked to fast or refrain from eating and drinking for a few hours prior to the procedure. Additionally, the preparation would depend on the type of biopsy, including the type of anesthesia or sedation used.


Typically, a breast biopsy will start with a physical examination of the breast. An ultrasound imaging of the breast will then be conducted to pinpoint the exact location and size of the abnormal growth. Once the area of suspicion is located, a needle will be used to draw a sample of tissue or a lump from the breast. The sample will then be sent to a pathology laboratory for testing and analysis. For an ultrasound imaging, the physician will apply a gel on the patient’s chest, and then roll a device known as a transducer over the breast to create two-dimensional images.


There are various types of biopsies which may be recommended by your doctor, including:

  • Stereotactic biopsy: This type of biopsy is done using an imaging device to guide a large needle into the area in question.
  • Ultrasound-guided biopsy: This type of biopsy is used to collect a sample from a specifically located area.
  • Needle aspiration: During a needle aspiration, a fine needle is inserted into the abnormal growth.
  • Surgical biopsy: For a surgical biopsy, a small incision is made in the breast, and a sample of the tissue or lump is removed.

Risks and Side Effects

The risks and side effects associated with biopsy and ultrasound imaging can include:

  • Pain or discomfort
  • Bleeding or bruising at the biopsy site
  • Infection at the biopsy site
  • Scarring

Why is it done?

A biopsy is done to diagnose an abnormal area or mass. Ultrasound imaging can be used to look for any abnormalities or to monitor changes in an already existing condition.

When is Biopsy or Ultrasound Recommended?

A biopsy or ultrasound imaging may be recommended if a doctor notices any lumps, unusual tissue, or an area of thickening in the breast during a physical examination or from a mammogram. It is also used to help diagnose problems such as breast cancer, breast cysts, or abnormal lesions.