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  • Dr. Pragati Singhal
  • 5 March 2024

An essential first step in the diagnosis of breast irregularities and possible malignancies is a breast biopsy. Making informed treatment decisions requires knowledge of the many kinds of breast biopsies when they are required, and what can be inferred from the findings. To give you a thorough understanding, we shall go over a number of breast biopsies in this tutorial.

Breast Biopsies Types

Breast biopsy techniques come in a variety of forms, each selected according to certain criteria pertaining to the breast region that is deemed suspect. The size, location, look, and accessibility of the questionable area, along with general health and individual preferences, are the main factors to be taken into account.

1. Core Needle Biopsy

A core needle biopsy is a procedure where a small sample of questionable tissue is removed using a bigger, hollow needle. Imaging guidance, such as mammography, MRI, or ultrasound—is frequently used to determine the precise site of a biopsy. Comparing this procedure to fine-needle aspiration, more thorough tissue samples are obtained.

2. Excisional Breast Biopsy (Lumpectomy) and Incisional Breast Biopsy

During an excisional breast biopsy, the surrounding tissue and a tumour that may be breast cancer are surgically removed. On the other hand, an incisional breast biopsy removes just a part of the suspicious area or lump.

Breast Biopsies Types Based on Imaging

The sort of breast biopsy also depends on how the problematic area is visualised:

★ Stereotactic Breast Biopsy:

A radiologist uses mammography to determine the biopsy site.

★ Ultrasound-Guided Breast Biopsy:

The needle is guided to the suspicious spot using ultrasound equipment.

★ Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI):

It assists in identifying the breast biopsy site.

When Is a Breast Biopsy Necessary?

Your doctor may suggest a breast biopsy in one of the following scenarios:

★ Palpable Lump or Thickening:

To rule out or confirm breast cancer, a biopsy may be advised if you or your healthcare practitioner detects a lump or thickening in your breast.

★ Abnormal Imaging Findings:

A biopsy may be required for additional assessment if suspicious areas are found on a mammography, breast ultrasound, or breast MRI.

★ Unusual Changes in the Areola or Nipple:

Unusual discharge, dimpling skin, or crusting could raise questions and necessitate a biopsy.

Understanding the Results of the Biopsy

After the biopsy is finished, a pathologist uses a microscope to look at the tissue or fluid samples and look for abnormal or malignant cells. The pathology report, which is sent to your doctor in a week or two, is very important in figuring out what to do next.

★ Benign Results:

The report reveals benign (non-cancerous) cells if no malignant cells are discovered. According to the advice of a healthcare provider, a follow-up or extra therapy may still be advised.

★ Cancer Diagnosis:

In the event that cancer cells are discovered, the report offers crucial details such as tumour kind, growth rate, and receptor status. Lab tests may be performed on core-needle biopsy samples to look for progesterone or oestrogen receptors in the cells.

★ Surgical Biopsy Results:

The tumour type, grade, receptor status, and margin are all disclosed by the surgical biopsy results. Negative margins signify the absence of cancer cells in the area, whilst positive margins show cancer cells are present at the margin.

It helps you and your healthcare team to talk about appropriate treatment options when you understand the pathology report. A cancer diagnosis may result in further scans, lab testing, surgery, or referrals to breast cancer specialists in order to ascertain the cancer's stage and create a personalised treatment strategy.

To sum up, a breast biopsy is an essential diagnostic procedure that yields important data for you to consider when making health-related decisions. Gaining knowledge about the many kinds of breast biopsies and the importance of pathology reports will enable you to take an active role in your healthcare and work well with your medical team.
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