Fine Needle Aspiration Breast Biopsy Procedure

Breast Biopsy by Needle Aspiration is the biopsy of any abnormal tissue or fluid in the female breast. The procedure is conducted to sample breast tissue, which is then examined to detect the presence of cancer. It is also known as Breast Aspiration, Fine Needle Aspiration Biopsy or FNAB.

Breast Biopsy by Needle Aspiration procedure usually involves the female breast. In rare cases, the procedure is performed on the male breast as well. Breast Biopsy by Needle Aspiration is performed to analyse a lump or thickening noticed in the breasts. The procedure is one of the best preliminary methods used in diagnosing any disease of the breast tissue, including breast cancer.

How is the breast biopsy by needle aspiration surgical procedure performed?

During a Breast Biopsy by Needle Aspiration procedure, a very fine and hollow needle is inserted where the lump or thickening is noticed. If the lump is a cyst, then the fluid contained within the cyst is withdrawn and if it is a tumour, the needle may have to be inserted many more times to remove a small amount of a tissue. The extracted sample is sent for further pathological examination. After the procedure, a little pressure is applied to the point where the needle was inserted and the spot bandaged. The procedure is performed by a trained physician or a general surgeon and usually takes between 10-30 minutes.

What do you need to tell your physician before the procedure?

It is very important to provide the following information to your healthcare provider. This enables your healthcare provider in assessing the risks for the surgical procedure and helps avoid unnecessary complications.

  • Provide a complete list of medications you are currently, taking to your physician. This information is useful for a variety of reasons. For example, it can help your healthcare provider prevent complications due to a drug interaction
  • If you are allergic to any specific medication or food items
  • If you are taking blood thinners, such as aspirin, warfarin, herbal supplements, or any other such medication
  • If you or your family members, have a history of bleeding disorders, or if there is a tendency to bleed more than normal
  • If you have diabetes, high blood pressure, chest pains, or have previously suffered from a heart attack
  • If you have ever been diagnosed with blood clots in your leg (deep vein thrombosis) or lung (embolism of lung)
  • If you have a history of frequent bone fractures (this may affect bone-healing, if bones are involved as part of your procedure)
  • A list of all previous surgical procedures you have undergone, like for example: Removal of appendix, gallbladder, or any other part, of your body; surgical repair of any body part, such as hernia repair, perforation of bowel wall, etc.

What preparations are needed prior to the procedure?

  • The physician may evaluate the individual’s medical history to gain information related to the overall health status including the medications that are being currently taken
  • Some medications increase a person’s chances of bleeding and it may be recommended to discontinue them for a period of time, before the procedure is performed
  • Normally local anaesthesia is not used; however do inform the physician if you are allergic to any local anaesthetics, lidocaine, etc.
  • Avoid application of any cosmetics, deodorant, or topical medicines on the area, prior to the procedure

What tests are needed, before the breast biopsy by needle aspiration surgical procedure?

The physician may conduct a physical examination and also may ask the patient to take an ultrasound or mammogram or both. Some blood tests may be necessary prior to the procedure. The exact blood tests that are required are determined by the physician.

What are the possible risks and complications during breast biopsy by needle aspiration surgical procedure?

Since the procedure is less invasive, there is little or no blood loss involved. However, infection is a possible complication that might arise during or after a needle aspiration procedure.

What are the possible risks and complications after breast biopsy by needle aspiration surgical procedure?

After a Breast Biopsy by Needle Aspiration procedure, the patient may experience hematoma (collection of blood under the skin at the site). Sometimes, an infection may develop at the point where the needle was inserted for aspiration.

What is the prognosis after the surgery?

The prognosis is usually excellent after the procedure and there are no side effects. However, there might be a small bruise at the location of needle insertion, causing soreness for a day or two.

What post-operative care is needed at home after breast biopsy by needle aspiration surgical procedure?

At home, the following post-operative care is recommended, after a Breast Biopsy by Needle Aspiration procedure:

  • Wash the site of aspiration with soap
  • Remove the bandage after a day or two day
  • Resume daily activities as early as possible
  • Avoid taking drugs that are not prescribed
  • Do not take prescription pain killers longer than prescribed
  • Wear a supportive bra
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