What is Image-Guided Breast Biopsy?

What is an Image-Guided Needle Breast Biopsy?

If you have an abnormal Mammogram or a lump in your breast that requires a biopsy, you are not alone. Countless women have suspicious findings, which require biopsy, and more than 70 percent of them are non-cancerous (benign). In order to determine if an abnormality is cancer or not, an Image-Guided Breast Biopsy may be required. This non-surgical procedure uses the aid of an imaging device to guide a Radiologist while performing a Biopsy on an abnormal area in the breast. During the procedure, a highly trained and specialized Radiologist will remove a sample of breast tissue for testing to determine if the cells are benign or cancerous.

The Biopsy may be guided through three different techniques:

  • Ultrasound
  • Mammogram (Stereotactic/3D)
  • MRI

At Fairfax Radiology, we understand that this could be a stressful time and we want you to have the support, guidance and assistance you need to navigate the process. That is why we assign a Breast Imaging Facilitator or Certified Breast Navigator to all women who are candidates for an Image-Guided Needle Breast Biopsy. She will become a resource and will guide you through the process each step of the way, explaining procedures, ensuring prompt scheduling, and confirming that the appropriate reports and images are available for other specialists, if necessary. 

To learn about Ultrasound Guided Biopsy, watch the following videos:




To learn about Stereotactic Biopsy, watch the following video:

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What is Ultrasound-Guided Breast Biopsy?

During an Ultrasound-Guided Breast Biopsy, a Radiologist identifies the abnormal area in the breast with Ultrasound. The skin is cleaned and then local anesthesia is applied to numb the skin and underlying tissue. A specialized biopsy device is then advanced into the breast under direct Ultrasound visualization to obtain small samples of the abnormal, targeted tissue. 

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What is Stereotactic Breast Biopsy?

During a Stereotactic Breast Biopsy, a Radiologist uses digital 2D or 3D X-ray imaging to identify the abnormal area in the breast. The skin is cleaned and then local anesthesia is applied to numb the skin and underlying tissue. A specialized vacuum-assisted biopsy device is then used to remove samples of the abnormal, targeted tissue.

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What is a Breast MRI Biopsy?

During a Breast MRI Biopsy, a Radiologist utilizes intravenous contrast and MRI to identify the abnormal tissue. The skin is cleaned and then local anesthesia is applied to numb the skin and underlying tissue. Using MRI as a guide, a special vacuum-assisted biopsy device is used to remove samples of the abnormal, targeted tissue.

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What should I expect after an Image-Guided Breast Biopsy?

Whether the Biopsy uses the aid of an Ultrasound, Mammogram or MRI, the next step is always the same. The tissue samples that were removed during the biopsy are delivered to a laboratory where a Pathologist examines them under a microscope. The Pathologist will determine whether the breast abnormality is cancer, a high-risk finding or a benign breast finding. Depending on who referred you for your biopsy, either our Breast Facilitator/Navigator or your own physician will call you with the results.

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Can I schedule an Image-Guided Breast Biopsy with Fairfax Radiology?

You can always speak directly with our Facilitator or Navigator to schedule an appointment. You will need a referral from your physician for the procedure. If you schedule your biopsy through our Facilitator or Navigator, she will often be able to get the referral for you from your physician. You can also schedule an appointment by calling 703.698.4488 Monday through Friday 8am to 6pm or click here to make an online appointment request

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When are appointments offered for Image-Guided Breast Biopsies?

For your convenience, appointments are available mornings, afternoons and weekends at the locations listed above. Please read the list carefully as some methods are only available at specific locations. Learn more about each location.

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Can I bring my children to my imaging appointment?

All imaging procedures require that only the patient remain in the room during the exam. Because the patient requires our full attention, we cannot provide supervision for any accompanying children. If you wish to bring your children, you must arrange for another adult to supervise your children during your procedure. Families of Obstetrical patients will be allowed in the room for a limited period of time, but only when an adult accompanies the minor children.

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