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Zwanger-Pesiri is dedicated to performing breast biopsy procedures at five of our offices in Nassau and Suffolk counties. We provide a full range of needle aspirations and core needle biopsy techniques. Guided by the latest mammography (stereotactic), ultrasound, and MRI technology, patients receive the highest level of comfort and precision during their exam.

Every biopsy sample is analyzed by a board certified pathologist, a physician who looks at the tissue under a microscope and determines whether or not the tissue contains cancer. A biopsy is the most definitive way to diagnose a suspicious breast lump.

What is a breast biopsy?

A breast biopsy is a diagnostic procedure in which a sample of living tissue is removed with a tiny needle to be examined by a pathologist, a doctor specially trained in tissue identification. The sample of tissue is usually examined under a microscope to determine if it is healthy or if it shows any kind of disease or abnormality.

In many cases, the use of medical imaging such as MRI, mammography or ultrasound is used to guide the doctor in performing the biopsy to help pinpoint the tissue, organ or bone under observation.

Fine Needle Aspiration Biopsy

A fine needle aspiration biopsy is the simplest biopsy. It uses an extremely thin needle – thinner than the ones used for blood tests. Because the needle is so fine, this procedure is relatively painless. The physician inserts the needle into the lump and draws out fluid or a tissue sample. If clear fluid comes out, the lump is more likely to be a benign cyst rather than cancer. A pathologist will examine the fluid or tissue sample under a microscope to determine if cancer is present.

Core Needle Biopsy

A core needle biopsy uses a somewhat larger, hollow needle to remove tiny cylinders (called cores) of tissue from the suspicious area. Core needle biopsies usually require a local anesthetic (numbing agent) for your comfort. The needle is inserted a few times to obtain samples. While this procedure takes longer than a fine needle aspiration biopsy, it is more likely to give a definitive result because more samples of tissue were checked.

How do I prepare?

Request an appointment online or call us to book your appointment. Once your appointment is booked, your forms will be available on the patient portal.

Do not take Aspirin, Ibuprofen, Advil, Motrin or Aleve for one week prior to your appointment. If you take Coumadin, Plavix or any other blood thinners, you must get approval from your doctor to stop the medication one week prior to your biopsy. Also avoid fish oil and high doses of vitamins (except for prenatals).

On the day of the appointment, do not apply deodorant, perfume, cream, powder or lotion on the breast or underarm areas. If possible, wear a full cup support bra or sports bra for after your exam and either a zipper or button-down top.

Eating and drinking is okay.

Bring with you to your appointment:

  • Prescription from your doctor.
  • Current insurance card.
  • Authorization number from your insurance carrier.
  • Any forms you completed at home.
  • Credit card or cash for your insurance co-pay.
  • Any breast imaging studies that you have from another facility. We like to compare the biopsy results with any previous studies to assist in the diagnostic process.
  • Picture identification.
  • What do I do when I arrive?

    Present your prescription, insurance card and completed forms at the front desk. If any additional forms are required, they will be given to you at this time.

    Be sure to inform the receptionist and technologist if you:

  • Are pregnant, think you may be pregnant or are breast feeding.
  • Have breast implants.
  • Have allergies.
  • Have any metal or a medical device in your body.
  • Have asthma.
  • Have had any recent surgery or trauma.
  • Are currently taking any medications.
  • Have any breast studies from another facility. We like to compare the new mammogram with any previous studies to assist in the diagnostic process.
  • Plan to arrive 15 minutes before your scheduled appointment.

    What happens during the test?

    After registering for your biopsy and changing into a gown if necessary, the receptionist or technologist will bring you to the exam room. Preliminary images may be taken before the biopsy to assist the radiologist.

    The radiologist will then come into the room, explain the entire procedure and answer any questions you might have. A mammogram, ultrasound or MRI exam will be performed to locate the exact area of the breast being biopsied and to help ensure the most precise needle placement.

    The skin is then sterilized and often, a local anesthetic is given. A small nick is made in the skin and a thin biopsy needle is placed into the region of interest. A very small sample of tissue is then removed. The surface of the skin will then be cleansed and the technologist or nurse will put a small bandage over the nick. Some biopsy studies require additional images to be taken.

    After the exam, post-biopsy instructions will be reviewed with you. Some biopsy exams require a half an hour to an hour of recovery time before leaving the office. The radiologist will be available if you have any further questions.

    What happens after the test?

    The tissue sample is sent to a lab where it is analyzed by a board certified pathologist. The findings are then sent to us, as well as to your referring doctor. One of our board certified radiologists specializing in interventional radiology reviews the pathology report and dictates a final report which is transcribed, proofread and signed.

    The final report is faxed and mailed to your referring doctor within three to five days. Your doctor will read the report and review the findings with you.

    All of your signed reports and images are available to your referring doctor on our physician's web portal, and available to you on the patient web portal.