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St. Vincent's Medical Center, Bridgeport CT

Breast Biopsy

St. Vincent's Medical Center, Bridgeport CTSt. Vincent's SWIM Women's Imaging Center (203) 576-5500

A breast biopsy removes a sample of breast tissue that is looked at under a microscope to check for breast cancer.

A breast biopsy is usually done to check a lump found during a breast examination or a suspicious area found on a mammogram, ultrasound or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). 


Breast tissue can be tested in different ways: fine-needle aspiration, core needle and stereotactic biopsies. Our stereotactic breast biopsy program is accredited by the American College of Radiology. 

  • A fine-needle aspiration biopsy puts a thin needle through the skin, into the lump, and removes cells to examine. Needle aspiration may be done to see if the lump is solid or fluid-filled (cyst). If the lump is a cyst, it will go away after the fluid is removed. If there is no fluid, another type of biopsy will be done.
  • A core needle biopsy uses a large needle fitted with a special tip. The needle goes through the skin to the lump or area to take out a sample of tissue about the size of a pencil lead. 
  • A stereotactic biopsy uses a special type of X-ray during a core needle biopsy to find the area of the breast where the biopsy samples will be taken. This technique can check a lump that cannot be felt on breast examination but is seen on mammogram or MRI. A small incision is then made in the skin of the breast, and the core needle is guided by the X-ray to the biopsy site to take tissue samples. Stereotactic biopsy may not be appropriate for all types of breast lumps.
  • A vacuum-assisted core biopsy is done with a hollow probe that uses a gentle vacuum to remove a sample of breast tissue. This method may be used for a core needle biopsy or a stereotactic biopsy. Vacuum-assisted biopsy can remove more tissue than a standard core needle biopsy. The single small incision does not require stitches and there is very little scarring.
  • An open biopsy makes a cut in the skin and removes a sample of the lump or the entire lump. If your doctor cannot feel a lump, a small wire can be put in the suspicious area during a mammogram or MRI done just before surgery. The wire then guides your doctor to the suspicious area to take a biopsy sample.
  • St. Vincent’s breast surgeons are trained to perform these biopsies and will order more tests or biopsies if problems are found during the first biopsy or they are concerned about a certain area of your breast.

Contact us

St. Vincent's SWIM Women's Imaging Center (203) 576-5500

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