Doctor reviewing test results with older female patient

Core Needle Biopsy

At Providence, we’re dedicated to helping you get the answers you need. Using the most accurate diagnostic procedures, we can help you plan the most effective treatment. 

A core needle biopsy is a diagnostic procedure that uses a specially designed needle to remove a tissue sample without disturbing or damaging the surrounding cell structure. The long, thin, hollow needle is inserted through your skin to the suspicious area and removes a cylinder-shaped tissue sample. This sample is then tested in a laboratory.

Before the breast biopsy, your provider will give you a local anesthetic to numb the breast area. You will be given a contrast agent through an IV. Then, you lie on your stomach on a special table and your breast fits through a hole in the table.

Your breast will be compressed like it is for a mammogram, and several MRI images will be taken. These images help your provider guide the biopsy device to the suspicious area.

A needle in the device removes a sample of tissue. The needle is inserted and removed quickly. You may feel a pushing and pulling sensation against your breast, which can cause some discomfort. 

This procedure is also known as “stereo.” It uses a computer to help your doctor target a specific area in your breast. Stereotactic X-rays, or mammograms taken from multiple angles, are used with a special biopsy needle. This technique is rapidly replacing surgical biopsy, which requires an incision and/or surgery. There are two types of stereo procedures:

  • Upright – you sit up or lie on your side while 3D images are taken
  • Prone – you lie on your stomach with your breast through an opening in the table

For both types, your breast will be compressed (like it is during a regular mammogram). An image similar to a mammogram is taken. Then the radiologist numbs the area. The biopsy needle is inserted, and additional images are taken to make sure the needle is in the correct position. 

After the sample is removed and imaged, a titanium marker is placed in the biopsy area. It is normal to feel a pushing and pulling sensation, in addition to some slight discomfort. When the procedure is over, you’ll get a bandage. Then you’ll have a regular mammogram to make sure the marker is located in the biopsy area.

Your samples are then sent to the lab at the hospital. Your health care provider will contact you with your results in 3-4 days.