What is an Incisional Breast Biopsy?
Biopsy is a general term which simply means “the removal of tissue for microscopic examination.”
Your doctor intends to remove tissue from the breast – not because you’re necessarily ill – but because breast biopsy is a very accurate method for analyzing breast tissue. Because it provides such accurate diagnostic information, breast biopsy is an important diagnostic tool in the fight against breast cancer.
It was felt by you or your doctor during a routine breast exam or discovered following a mammogram. Let’s take a moment to look at the reasons why lumps form in breast tissue.
The breast is made of layers of skin, fat and breast tissue – all of which overlay the pectoralis muscle. Breast tissue itself is made up of a network of tiny-milk carrying ducts and there are three ways in which a lump can form among them.
Most women experience periodic changes to their breasts. Cysts are some of the most common kinds of tissues that can grow large enough to be felt and to cause tenderness. Cysts often grow and then shrink without any medical intervention.
A second kind of lump is caused by changes in breast tissue triggered by the growth of a cyst. Even after the cyst itself has gone away, it can leave fibrous tissue behind. This scar tissue can often be large enough to be felt.
The third kind of growth is a tumor. Tumors can be either benign or cancerous and it is concern about this type of growth that has lead your doctor to recommend a breast biopsy.
Sometimes you will have breast changes that can not be felt by physical examination alone but may be seen on a mammogram.
In order to learn more about the nature of the lump in your breast your doctor would like to surgically remove it.
Most likely, you’re feeling some anxiety about this procedure, which is perfectly understandable. You should realize that it’s natural to feel apprehensive about any kind of biopsy. In some cases, a woman will choose not to have a biopsy simply out of fear.
But ignoring a lump in your breast won’t make it go away.
If you’re feeling anxious, try to remember that the purpose of a biopsy is simply to find out what is going on in your body – so that if you do have a problem, it can be diagnosed and treated as quickly as possible.
If you should decide not to allow your doctor to perform the biopsy, you’ll be leaving yourself at risk for medical problems.
If the suspicious tissue in your breast is benign, most likely you’ll suffer few if any complications. However, if it is cancerous, and it is allowed to grow unchecked – you might be putting your own life at risk.
The bottom line – trust that your doctor is recommending this procedure for your benefit and above all don’t be afraid to ask questions raised by this video and to talk openly about your concerns.
After allowing a few minutes for the anesthetic to take effect, the surgeon will make a small incision.
Once the incision has been made, your doctor will begin looking for the lump that is to be removed. You will feel some pressure or even slight tugging or pulling – but you should not feel any sharp pain. If you do begin to feel pain, you should tell the doctor and you will be given more anesthetic.
Once the lump is removed, the doctor will close the skin over the incision as neatly and as cosmetically as they are able.
Finally, a sterile dressing is applied.
Your specimen will be sent immediately to a lab for microscopic analysis. Your doctor will tell you when to expect result from those tests.