A biopsy is a simple procedure that involves sampling tissue from an area of concern within the breast. As an alternative to an open surgical biopsy, the Breast Center of Irvine offers minimally invasive biopsy procedures performed with the guidance of ultrasound or mammography. If a lesion is discovered, a biopsy is performed to determine whether cancer is present or not.


An ultrasound-guided needle biopsy is a medical test used to learn more about a suspicious lesion or mass. The biopsy is done by using ultrasound to find the lesion or mass. Image-guided biopsy combines the use of ultrasound with either a Fine Needle Aspiration or Core Needle Biopsy. This test is most often used for lymph node, breast, thyroid and liver biopsies.



Fine needle aspiration (FNA) is the least invasive method of biopsy and it usually leaves no scar. You will be lying down for this procedure. An injection of local anesthesia is given to numb the area of interest. The radiologist uses a thin needle with a hollow center to remove a sample of cells from the suspicious area. Ultrasound guidance is used for FNAs, however in the most cases, he or she can feel the lump and guide the needle to the right place.



Core needle biopsy uses a larger hollow needle than what is used for fine needle aspiration. This type of biopsy is done while you are lying down. After numbing the breast with local anesthesia, the radiologist uses the hollow needle to remove several cylinder-shaped samples of tissue from the suspicious area. In most cases, the needle is inserted about 3 to 6 times so that the doctor can get enough samples. Usually core needle biopsy does not leave a scar.

The radiologist will use an image-guided technique such as ultrasound or mammography. A small metal clip will be inserted into the area to mark the site of biopsy in case the tissue proves to be cancerous and additional surgery is required. This clip is left inside and is not harmful to the body. If the biopsy leads to more surgery, the clip will be removed at that time.



Stereotactic biopsy use 3D tomosynthesis mammographic images to accurately locate breast abnormalities. This techniques is most frequently used for biopsy of calcifications or lesions that are apparent on the mammogram, but not on the ultrasound. The procedure requires local anesthesia and only low-dose radiation.



Vacuum-assisted breast biopsy, also known as mammotome biopsy, minimally invasive breast biopsy (MIBB) and vacuum core biopsy.

A vacuum-assisted biopsy is a way of removing an area of abnormal cells from the breast tissue. The radiologist uses a special needle attached to a vacuum device to remove the cells with either ultrasound or mammography guidance to take samples of breast tissue. The samples can then be examined under a microscope. This can show whether there is a cancer or another type of breast condition.

This test may be performed if your doctor has seen an abnormal area in your breast during your mammogram or ultrasound exam.


The Breast Center of Irvine is an imaging center specializing in breast care services dedicated to exceptional patient care



16100 Sand Canyon Ave, Suite 100
Irvine, CA 92618
Phone: 949-502-3489
Fax: 949-387-4013
Tax Identification Number: 83-4604923
501(c)(3) non-profit organization

[email protected]