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Dangers of Breast Biopsy

written by: Harry Sylvester • edited by: Emma Lloyd • updated: 5/23/2011

Your physician might recommend that you undergo a breast biopsy to find if you have any abnormalities in the cells. By learning breast biopsy dangers, you can better prepare for undergoing the procedure.

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    What is a Breast Biopsy?

    A breast biopsy is a procedure that removes a small sample of breast tissue for lab testing to examine signs of breast cancer. A pathologist will analyze the breast tissue to discover whether or not unusual breast change is present. A breast biopsy helps identify any abnormalities in the cells, which cause breasts changes. Undergoing breast biopsy allows you to recognize if you need medical treatments. However, breast biopsy dangers might occur, which will be explained later.

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    Types of Breast Biopsy

    The size and location of the lump can determine which breast biopsy can be performed on the patient. Breast biopsy has several types to detect a suspicious lump, including:

    Fine Needle Aspiration Biopsy (FNAB)

    The use of a thin needle and syringe to collect and withdraw (aspirate) cells from a suspicious lump is known as a fine needle aspiration biopsy (FNAB). An FNAB is applied to identify cysts and other sample cells. The physician (a pathologist or surgeon) uses a thinner needle than needle used for blood test. The tissue will be examined under a microscope. Local anesthetic may or may not be applied because getting the anesthetic might hurt more than the biopsy due to a thin needle.

    Stereotactic Core Needle Biopsy

    The Stereotactic Core Needle Biopsy applies a combination of computer and x-ray device to evaluate any abnormalities. The location of the exact area of suspected cyst is displayed on the computer screen. The biopsy is applied to locate microcalcifications or calcium deposits.

    Vacuum-assisted Core Biopsy

    A procedure in which a small sample of tissue is taken from the breast. A hollow probe is inserted through an incision made in numbed skin on the breast. The sample will be obtained through a small rotating knife in the probe. The VACB needs no stitches.

    Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

    The Magnetic Resonance Imaging might lead the biopsy to help discover the tumor and lead the biopsy instrument to the tumor. A computer analysis helps an MRI perform this biopsy.

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    Core Needle Biopsy (CNB)

    The use of hollow needle to take small cylinders of suspicious tissue refers to a core needle biopsy. The physician will perform the CNB by applying local anesthesia. The CNB needs several needle insertions without internal scar or stitches. The larger sample may result in more accurate diagnosis.

    Ultrasound-guided Biopsy

    Ultrasound-guided biopsy refers to a device that emits sound waves and a computer to take pictures of the breast to find if there is an unusual breast change.

    Surgical (excisional) Biopsy

    The surgeon removes part or all of abnormal area in surgical biopsy so that the tissue can be examined under the microscope. One of these methods is a mammogram. The physician uses local anesthetic and he or she inserts a thin needle with a thin wire in the breast. The physician then detaches the hollow needle and only uses the thin wire to help direct him or her to have the suspicious area removed.

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    Dangers of Breast Biopsy

    Even though breast biopsy proves effective to detect and find if there is a possibility of cancer, this medical procedure may lead to breast biopsy dangers, which include:

    Needle biopsy might spread breast cancer

    The use of needle in a biopsy is highly recommended for those who have suspicious lumps. However, this procedure can be dangerous to human health because there is a low risk that the needle might itself spread the breast cancer. Breast cancer cells develop slowly because they are encased inside a wall. The human body needs to defend itself by creating a wall around the cancer to prevent the cancer cells from leaking out.

    When a very thin needle goes through that wall, breast cancer cells can leak out through this tiny hole and begin circulating in the body. When cancer spreads to other parts of the body, this is called metastasis. Metastasized cancer is much more difficult to treat, so this procedure is one of the breast biopsy dangers for women.

    Needle biopsy might miss tissue sample from the abnormal area

    In addition, breast biopsy dangers can occur because needle biopsy is not a 100% effective method of detecting breast cancer. This is because the needle may miss a tissue sample from the suspicious area. This can result in a false negative test result, which can lead to breast cancer advancing significantly before it is detected.

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    References

    HealthCentral.com - http://www.healthcentral.com/breast-cancer/h/dangers-of-breast-biopsy.html

    HealthCentral.com: Diseases and Conditions - http://www.healthcentral.com/encyclopedia/408/281.html

    American Cancer Society - http://www.cancer.org/docroot/CRI/content/CRI_2_4_6x_For_Women_Facing_a_Breast_Biopsy.asp

    Harvard Health Publications: Excisional Biopsy of the Breast - http://www.health.harvard.edu/diagnostic-tests/excisional-biopsy-of-the-breast.htm

    Needle Biopsy: Are Needle Biopsies Safe? - http://chetday.com/needlebiopsy.htm

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    Disclaimer

    Please read this disclaimer regarding the information contained within this article.

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