Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
- What is a breast biopsy?
- What is the purpose of a breast biopsy?
- What specialties of physicians and practitioners do breast biopsies?
- Who should have a breast biopsy?
- In what setting is the breast biopsy done?
- What may a benign result indicate?
- How is a suspicious breast growth discovered?
- What should the patient tell the physician about the growth?
- How does a physician confirm the presence of a breast growth?
- Is anesthesia needed for a biopsy?
- What about pain and complications?
- What are the advantages and disadvantages of non-surgical procedures versus surgical breast biopsies?
- What are the different types of breast biopsy procedures and what do they involve?
- How is a fine needle aspiration biopsy (FNAB) done?
- How is a core needle biopsy (CNB) done?
- How is a vacuum-assisted breast biopsy done?
- How is an excision biopsy of the breast done?
- What is the time frame for receiving the results of a breast biopsy?
- Breast Biopsy At A Glance
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What is a breast biopsy?
A breast biopsy is a procedure in which part or all of a suspicious breast growth is removed and examined, usually for the presence of cancer. The growth sample is suctioned out through a needle or cut out using a surgical procedure. The sample is then examined and evaluated under a microscope by a pathologist to identify non-cancerous (benign) or cancerous (malignant) tissue.
Words used to refer to the abnormal area or growth before and after diagnosis may include lump, mass, lesion, and tumor.
What is the purpose of a breast biopsy?
The basic aim of a breast biopsy is to determine whether or not a worrisome lump is cancer and, if it is cancer, what type it is. When no cancer is detected, the diagnosis of a benign or harmless lump is reassuring.
What specialties of physicians and practitioners do breast biopsies?
Many physicians and healthcare practitioners can be involved in evaluating a woman for a breast biopsy.
- For example, breast abnormalities during a physical examination might be noticed by a family physician, internist, gynecologist, or nurse practitioner. Women themselves are frequently the first to detect abnormalities in their breasts.
- Radiologists are specialists in interpreting x-rays such as
mammograms, as well as other imaging studies. Radiologists or surgeons often perform the procedure to obtain the breast tissue sample.
- Anesthesiologists (specialists in administering anesthesia and monitoring a patient's vital signs) are sometimes necessary during surgical procedures.
- Pathologists are physician specialists who examine and identify under a microscope the type of cells in the samples and determine whether or not cancer is present.
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