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What is an ultrasound guided breast biopsy?
Ultrasound guided breast biopsy is a minimally invasive procedure that uses sound waves (ultrasound) to pinpoint suspicious areas in the breast so that tissue samples may be withdrawn with a needle.

Who should have an ultrasound guided breast biopsy?
Those with suspected breast abnormalities that can't be either detected or clearly identified via X-ray. This procedure is especially useful for pregnant women or nursing mothers who should avoid exposure to X-rays.  

How often should you have an ultrasound guided breast biopsy?
As recommended by your physician.

How do you prepare for an ultrasound guided breast biopsy?
Wear a comfortable, two-piece outfit and feel free to eat a light meal prior to the procedure. Do not wear deodorant, lotion, powder or perfume under your arms or on your breasts on the day of the procedure. If you take aspirin or aspirin-like medications (ibuprophen, Motrin, etc.) try to avoid taking them for one week before your biopsy. Take all other medication as usual.

What happens during the procedure?
You will lie on your back, and your breast will be cleaned. The technician then applies a clear gel to your skin and begins passing a transducer wand back and forth over your breast. Once the physician finds the suspicious area, he or she will guide a needle into the area using the ultrasound images as guidelines. The physician will draw out small tissue samples in the case of a biopsy, or perform an aspiration in the case of a cyst. In the instance of core needle biopsy or vacuum-assisted biopsy, the doctor will make a small incision in the skin before inserting the needle. In some cases, the needle may have to be inserted several times during the procedure.

What happens after the procedure?
There is no need for stitches. A small bandage is applied and you will usually be able to return immediately to your normal activity. In some cases there may be a small amount of bruising and discomfort. The tissue samples will be sent to the pathology laboratory for analysis.

What are the benefits of an ultrasound guided breast biopsy?
This minimally invasive procedure is the most common technique for needle biopsy.

What are the risks of an ultrasound guided breast biopsy?
A biopsy of any type only removes samples of the suspected abnormality, not the entire mass. Therefore, there's the chance that a more serious problem may be missed.