Breast needle biopsy

Marina Virko
Reviews — 0
Reading time: 7 minutes

Information verified by an expert

Oleg Gluz

Breast biopsy is a diagnostic procedure aimed at obtaining the contents of a pathological mass in the breast for histological examination using a needle. It is a minimally invasive and highly informative method. In certain cases, breast biopsy is performed for therapeutic and diagnostic purposes. The procedure allows the doctor to determine the type of neoplasm and, based on this, determine the treatment strategy.

Needle biopsy indications

Tissue samples are taken if a breast care specialist detects a mass during a breast examination. The following symptoms may be present at this stage:

  • Nipple discharge;
  • A lump;
  • Changes in the shape of the nipple;
  • Skin flaking and sores.
If you doubt that the breast examination is appropriate, you can resort to a second opinion service. Experts at European clinics will review your complaints, current symptoms, and determine if there are indications for a cytological examination of a tumor.

Contraindications to mammary tissue sampling

Any breast tissue damage is prohibited if one of the following conditions is present:

  • Infectious skin diseases;
  • Blood clotting disorders;
  • Platelet disorders;
  • Deep location of the mass.

It should be noted procedures like needle biopsy should be performed with caution if the patient has a history of severe diseases or breast implants. Anticoagulant therapy is a temporary contraindication to the study.

Breast needle biopsy methods

Needle biopsy is an outpatient procedure using local anesthesia. The patient can go home immediately after the exam. The skin at the biopsy site is pretreated with antiseptic. Sample collection is performed using a syringe. With dense lumps, the doctor twists the needle to soften the tissue before collecting the sample. The needle is inserted deeper in order to obtain material from different parts of the mass. The patient does not feel any unpleasant sensations, the mammary gland does not cause any discomfort after the procedure.

If the mass is more than 4 cm in diameter, 2-3 samples are taken from various sites.

The maximum accuracy can be achieved by performing the biopsy under the ultrasound guidance. Other options include X-ray or MRI-guided procedures. A core needle is used, which allows to obtain a column-shaped tissue sample without unnecessary damage to the breast.

Biopsy to treat breast cysts

For therapeutic purposes, the procedure is performed in the same way as fine-needle aspiration biopsy. Thus, in the case of benign cysts, their content is removed through a fine needle, and a sclerosing compound is injected in the end. This allows to cure an abscess or a mass without surgery.

Second opinion

A second opinion is a chance to consult with doctors at major European health care facilities online. You can communicate with the expert in a conversation, or obtain a written reply. The only thing you need to provide to obtain advice is your medical record with relevant health data. The second opinion will helpful:

  • while planning the treatment to determine if examinations is necessary;
  • when you need to evaluate examination results;
  • at the stage of treatment planning.

A second opinion makes it possible to compare various approaches and choose the best option.

Needle biopsy is very informative in tumor diagnosis, as well as safe and not requiring a lengthy rehabilitation. However, decisions about performing it should be taken on case-by-case basis.


  1. Ultrasound image-guided core biopsy of the breast, V Suzanne Klimberg, 2016.
  2. A sensitivity and specificity comparison of fine needle aspiration cytology and core needle biopsy in evaluation of suspicious breast lesions: A systematic review and meta-analysis, Mei Wang, 2017.
  3. PET-guided breast biopsy, Judith E Kalinyak, 2011.

Please rate this article:

Useless Remaining questions Shallow Useful Perfect

Overall rating (Shallow) ( Ratings 2)

Comments — 0

This name will be displayed next to your comment.

Optional. Please enter your email address if you would like us to contact you.

Please avoid self-diagnosis and self-medication!

Dear users,

Our website content is posted for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be used for primary diagnoses-making and should not replace a consultation with a professional health care provider. If you have any health issues or complaints, please consult your primary physician.

Health care data provided for informational purposes is not an alternative to an in-person physician consultation.