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Breast Biopsy by Needle Aspiration

Last updated April 3, 2019

BruceBlaus

Breast Biopsy by Needle Aspiration is the biopsy of any abnormal tissue or fluid in the female breast. The procedure is conducted to sample breast tissue, which is then examined to detect the presence of cancer.


Background Information:

What are the other Names for the Procedure?

  • Breast Aspiration
  • Fine Needle Aspiration Biopsy
  • FNAB

What is Breast Biopsy by Needle Aspiration surgical procedure?

  • Breast Biopsy by Needle Aspiration is the biopsy of any abnormal tissue or fluid in the female breast
  • The procedure is conducted to sample breast tissue, which is then examined to detect the presence of cancer

What part of the Body does the Procedure involve?

Breast Biopsy by Needle Aspiration procedure usually involves the female breast. In rare cases, the procedure is performed on the male breast as well.

Why is the Breast Biopsy by Needle Aspiration surgical procedure Performed?

  • Breast Biopsy by Needle Aspiration is performed to analyze a lump or thickening noticed in the breasts
  • The procedure is one of the best preliminary methods used in diagnosing any disease of the breast tissue, including breast cancer

What are some Alternative Choices for the Procedure?

Some alternatives are Breast Biopsy by Incision or Excision; and these are invasive techniques. Another option is a Vacuum Assisted Core Biopsy, which is better than an open surgery.

What are the Recent Advances in the Procedure?

Fine Needle Aspiration is a simple and standard technique. The recent advances in the procedure are due to advances in manufacturing processes of the aspiration needle.

What is the Cost of performing the Breast Biopsy by Needle Aspiration surgical procedure?

The cost of Breast Biopsy by Needle Aspiration procedure depends on a variety of factors, such as the type of your health insurance, annual deductibles, co-pay requirements, out-of-network and in-network of your healthcare providers and healthcare facilities.

In many cases, an estimate may be provided before the procedure. The final amount depends upon the findings during the surgery/procedure and post-operative care that is necessary. 

When do you need a Second Opinion, prior to the Procedure?

  • It is normal for a patient to feel uncomfortable and confused by the information regarding Breast Biopsy by Needle Aspiration and on what needs to be done
  • If the patient needs further reassurance or a second opinion, a physician will almost always assist and also recommend another physician, if required

What are some Helpful Resources?

http://www.healthcommunities.com/breast-surgery/needle-aspiration-breast-biopsy.html

Prior to Breast Biopsy by Needle Aspiration surgical procedure:

How is the Breast Biopsy by Needle Aspiration surgical procedure Performed?

  • During a Breast Biopsy by Needle Aspiration procedure, a very fine and hollow needle is inserted where the lump or thickening is noticed
  • If the lump is a cyst, then the fluid contained within the cyst is withdrawn and if it is a tumor, the needle may have to be inserted many more times to remove a small amount of a tissue
  • The extracted sample is sent for further pathological examination
  • After the procedure, a little pressure is applied to the point where the needle was inserted and the spot bandaged

Where is the Procedure Performed?

Breast Biopsy by Needle Aspiration is usually performed in a physician’s clinic/office or a hospital. Normally, the person can go home once the procedure is completed.

Who Performs the Procedure?

The procedure is performed by a trained physician or a general surgeon.

How long will the Procedure take?

The procedure may take anywhere between 10-30 minutes.

What do you need to tell your Physician before the Procedure?

It is very important to provide the following information to your healthcare provider. This enables your healthcare provider in assessing the risks for the surgical procedure and helps avoid unnecessary complications.

  •  Provide a complete list of medications you are currently, taking to your physician. This information is useful for a variety of reasons. For example, it can help your healthcare provider prevent complications due to a drug interaction
  • If you are allergic to any specific medication or food items
  • If you are taking blood thinners, such as aspirin, warfarin, herbal supplements, or any other such medication
  • If you or your family members, have a history of bleeding disorders, or if there is a tendency to bleed more than normal
  • If you have diabetes, high blood pressure, chest pains, or have previously suffered from a heart attack
  • If you have ever been diagnosed with blood clots in your leg (deep vein thrombosis) or lung (embolism of lung)
  • If you have a history of frequent bone fractures (this may affect bone-healing, if bones are involved as part of your procedure)
  • A list of all previous surgical procedures you have undergone, like for example: Removal of appendix, gallbladder, or any other part, of your body; surgical repair of any body part, such as hernia repair, perforation of bowel wall, etc.

What Preparations are needed, prior to the Procedure?

  • The physician may evaluate the individual’s medical history to gain information related to the overall health status including the medications that are being currently taken
  • Some medications increase a person’s chances of bleeding and it may be recommended to discontinue them for a period of time, before the procedure is performed
  • Normally local anesthesia is not used; however do inform the physician if you are allergic to any local anesthetics, lidocaine, etc.
  • Avoid application of any cosmetics, deodorant, or topical medicines on the area, prior to the procedure

The physician will request your consent for the Breast Biopsy by Needle Aspiration procedure using an informed Consent Form.

What is the Consent Process before the Procedure?

A physician will request your consent for the Breast Biopsy by Needle Aspiration procedure using an Informed Consent Form.

Consent for the Procedure: A “consent” is your approval to undergo a procedure. A consent form is signed after the risks and benefits of the procedure, and alternative treatment options, are discussed. This process is called informed consent.

You must sign the forms only after you are totally satisfied by the answers to your questions. In case of minors and individuals unable to personally give their consent, the individual’s legal guardian or next of kin, shall give their consent for the procedure.

What Tests are needed, before the Breast Biopsy by Needle Aspiration surgical procedure?

The physician may conduct a physical examination and also may ask the patient to take an ultrasound or mammogram or both. Some blood tests may be necessary prior to the procedure. The exact blood tests that are required are determined by the physician. 

What are some Questions for your Physician?

Some of the basic questions that you might ask your physician are as follows:

  • What is a Breast Biopsy by Needle Aspiration procedure?
  • Why is this procedure necessary? 
  • What does the procedure involve?
  • How will this procedure help?
  • How soon should I get it done? Is it an emergency?
  • Who are the medical personnel involved in this procedure?
  • Where is the procedure performed? 
  • What are the risks while performing the procedure?
  • What are the possible complications that might take place after the procedure, during recovery?
  • How long will it take to recover? When can I resume normal work?
  • How many such procedures have you (the physician) performed?
  • What are the costs involved?

During the Breast Biopsy by Needle Aspiration surgical procedure:

What kind of Anesthesia is given, during the Procedure?

Usually no anesthesia is required; however, in some cases local anesthesia may be administered.

How much Blood will you lose, during the Procedure?

Since the procedure is less invasive, there is little or no blood loss involved.

What are the possible Risks and Complications during the Breast Biopsy by Needle Aspiration surgical procedure?

Infection is a possible complication that might arise during or after a needle aspiration procedure.

What Post-Operative Care is needed at the Healthcare Facility after the Breast Biopsy by Needle Aspiration surgical procedure?

At the healthcare facility, generally there is no requirement for any post-procedure care, unless any complications arise. 

After the Breast Biopsy by Needle Aspiration surgical procedure:

What are the possible Risks and Complications after the Breast Biopsy by Needle Aspiration surgical procedure?

After a Breast Biopsy by Needle Aspiration procedure, the patient may experience hematoma (collection of blood under the skin at the site). Sometimes, an infection may develop at the point where the needle was inserted for aspiration. 

What is the Prognosis after the Surgery?

The prognosis is usually excellent after the procedure and there are no side effects. However, there might be a small bruise at the location of needle insertion, causing soreness for a day or two.

When do you need to call your Physician?

Do contact your physician if you notice any of the following symptoms:

  • Pain around the surgical wound
  • Swelling and redness
  • Bleeding or fluid drainage around the spot
  • Fever
  • Dizziness

What Post-Operative Care is needed at Home after the Breast Biopsy by Needle Aspiration surgical procedure?

At home, the following post-operative care is recommended, after a Breast Biopsy by Needle Aspiration procedure:

  • Wash the site of aspiration with soap
  • Remove the bandage after a day or two day
  • Resume daily activities as early as possible
  • Avoid taking drugs that are not prescribed
  • Do not take prescription pain killers longer than prescribed
  • Wear a supportive bra

How long does it normally take to fully recover, from the Procedure?

Breast Biopsy by Needle Aspiration is a simple and less invasive procedure. It usually does not require any recovery time.

Additional Information:

What happens to tissue (if any), taken out during the Procedure?

The tissue is taken for further examination and later disposed, as per the standard medical procedure.

When should you expect results from the pathologist regarding tissue taken out, during the Procedure?

  • The tissue removed is processed in the laboratory under a pathologist's supervision
  • Slide(s) are prepared once the tissue is processed and this is examined by a pathologist and a pathology report issued
  • Depending on the complexity of the case, issue of the report may take anywhere between 72 hours to a week's time

Who will you receive a Bill from, after the Breast Biopsy by Needle Aspiration surgical procedure?

It is important to note that the number of bills that the patient may receive depends on the arrangement the healthcare facility has with the physician and other healthcare providers. 

Sometimes, the patient may get a single bill that includes the healthcare facility and the consultant physician charges. Sometimes, the patient might get multiple bills depending on the healthcare provider involved. For instance, the patient may get a bill from:

  • The physician’s office or hospital
  • A family physician or a general surgeon
  • A pathologist (if the tissue was sent for analysis)

The patient is advised to inquire and confirm the type of billing, before Breast Biopsy by Needle Aspiration procedure is performed.

Thanks and Gratitude:

We sincerely acknowledge and thank Dr. Douglas J. Jones for reviewing the article. His valuable input and feedback has helped enrich the contents of this article.

Douglas J. Jones, MD FACS
Board Certified General Surgeon and Faculty Member
University of Illinois, College of Medicine at Urbana-Champaign
506 S. Mathews Ave., Urbana, IL 61801, USA

Reviewed and Approved by a member of the DoveMed Editorial Board
First uploaded: May 22, 2013
Last updated: April 3, 2019