Buddy Check 7: What happens during a biopsy?

Published: Aug. 7, 2019 at 9:27 PM CDT
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It's a relatively common medical procedure that occurs with any number of different findings during medical tests. A biopsy is a close examination of tissue.

As it relates to breast cancer, doctors at Marshfield Clinic say biopsies take place after one of two discoveries.

Either the patient feels something a little unusual and comes in for further tests, or a routine mammogram or ultrasound highlights an area that isn't normal.

Dr. Kristie Guite says the area in question is numbed, and the patient experiences very little discomfort when the sample is taken.

After years of development, the sample size is now much smaller than in years past.

"Compared to what we did many years ago, we didn't have capabilities to do a biopsy through the skin with imaging and we just sent patients to the operating room. And, they often took out very large areas of tissue. We're taking very tiny pieces of tissue to find out, is this something we should be worried about or not?" Dr. Guite said.

Dr. Guite says after a biopsy, patients will either find their results are benign, atypical or cancerous.

For the latter two, further testing would be recommended.