Multimodality Biopsy

Use of core biopsy enables our physicians to diagnose findings detected on mammography, ultrasound or MRI. This procedure is designed to save women from undergoing unnecessary surgery. It is relatively painless and minimally invasive,making it a faster and less traumatic alternative to traditional surgical biopsy. EWBC is proud to be a pioneer in developing and performing stereotactic and MRI biopsy and introducing it to our Upstate NY region.

How is a core biopsy performed?

Preparing for your core biopsy

Before your procedure

During your procedure

After your procedure

Frequently asked questions

Core Biopsy Brochure


How is a core biopsy performed?

Your core biopsy will be performed in our office. The entire procedure usually takes about 45 minutes and is completed in four or  five steps:
1. Imaging the breast to identify the biopsy area
2. Numbing the breast with medication
3. Inserting the biopsy device in the breast to retrieve tissue samples
4. Performing the biopsy 
5. Often a tiny clip is placed to mark the biopsy site for future reference

In addition, your biopsy procedure may be performed using the guidance of ultrasound, stereotactic x-ray or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Depending on the imaging system used, your breast may need to be compressed (similar to a mammogram). A gel is typically applied for ultrasound imaging.


Before your procedure

Please inform your doctor of any prescription or over-the-counter medications you are currently taking. These include aspirin, ibuprofen and blood thinners such as Coumadin or Plavix. Some of these medications may need to be temporarily stopped several days prior to your biopsy. Also, provide your physician with a list of any known allergies and include if you are allergic to local anesthetics, epinephrine, tape, latex or betadine.

During your procedure

  • After our technologist has positioned you and has performed the necessary breast imaging, the physician will locate the area to be biopsied

  • Your skin will then be cleansed with an antiseptic and the biopsy area will be numbed. 

  • A very small skin incision will be made to help the biopsy device enter the breast with ease. You may feel some pressure as the device is positioned, but most women report feeling little or no pain. 

  • Multiple tissue samples will be taken for microscopic examination to study the makeup of cells. You may hear a hum, beep or click as the samples are collected. 

  • The physician will insert a tiny titanium or steel marker or clip at the biopsy site so that its exact location can be easily identified in the future. This marker poses no health or safety risk and you will not feel or notice it after placement. 

MRI guided  breast biopsy: An IV will be inserted into your arm so that a contrast agent can be used to see small details in the breast tissue.

Stereotactic breast biopsy: You will be lying face down on a special biopsy table. Your breast will be placed in an opening on the table.

Ultrasound guided breast biopsy: You will be lying on your back. A gel is typically applied for ultrasound imaging.

After your procedure

  • Pressure will be applied to the biopsy site to help prevent bruising. This usually takes only a few minutes. 

  • A steri-strip or adhesive gel will be placed over the incision and you will be provided with a cold pack to apply to the biopsy site. In some instances, a compression wrap bandage may be placed around the chest to minimize chances of swelling or bruising. 

  • A gentle mammogram of the biopsied breast will be performed to confirm placement of the marker site.

Most women resume normal daily activities within 24 hours following their procedure. Your doctor will contact you after receiving your biopsy results and will also provide any necessary instructions for follow-up care.

More than 80% of all breast lesions identified for core biopsy are diagnosed as benign or non-cancerous and present no health risk to the patient.

Frequently asked questions

Q: How much breast tissue will be removed?
A: Your doctor will only remove the amount of tissue needed to ensure an accurate diagnosis.

Q: How long will the biopsy take?
A: Although it varies among patients, the average biopsy procedure takes 30 to 45 minutes from the time you enter the exam room until the time you leave the office.

Q: Will I have a scar?
A: Visible evidence of w here the biopsy device was inserted into the breast is extremely small and fades to a natural skin tone over time.

Q: Will I experience any pain during the procedure?
A: You might feel a slight stinging or pinching sensation as the numbing medication is being inserted into the breast. Numbing the breast prior to the biopsy causes the rest of the procedure to be relatively pain free; however, you may feel some pressure or pinching during the actual biopsy.

Q: What potential side effects should I know about?
A: Your breast may be slightly tender and you may experience some mild bruising at the biopsy site. You will be provided with post-biopsy care instructions.

This page is intended as an educational resource only. It is not a substitute for professional care. Please see your physician if you have any concerns about your own health.