A biopsy is obtaining a sample of tissue. It can be done with a fine needle (fine needle aspirate biopsy – FNAB), or with a larger needle that takes a core of tissue (core biopsy), or surgically by removing the whole lesion / lump (excisional biopsy).
FNAB and core biopsies are usually performed under ultrasound or x-ray guidance.
FNA and core biopsy results can be available within 2-3 business days but can take up to 1 week.
Excisional biopsies (done surgically including guidewire-localized biopsies) usually take up to 1 week.
Sometimes extra tests are performed on the biopsied samples which can take a longer time.
When a lesion is seen on mammogram or ultrasound but cannot be felt, it can be removed with a wire-guided excisional biopsy.
This is a technique where a needle (called a guidewire or hookwire) is placed into the lesion before surgery under the guidance of an ultrasound or mammogram. This is done by the radiologist.
The patient heads to surgery with the guidewire in the breast. It guides the surgeon for removal of the impalpable lesion.
Confirmation is usually done with an x-ray of the removed specimen during the surgery.