complete an analysis of your sample. Two methods that remove more tissue than a core biopsy are called Mammotome and ABBI (Advanced Breast Biopsy Instrument).
In some cases, the doctor will want to do a more thorough examination by surgically removing a larger portion of the lump (this is called an incisional biopsy) or by taking out the entire lump and some surrounding tissue (this is known as an excisional biopsy or lumpectomy).
Both procedures are normally done on an outpatient basis, but in a hospital rather than a doctor’s office. To make things easier, your doctor may use a technique called wire localization, in which x-rays help show where a hollow needle should be inserted so that it will pierce the lump.
Once the needle is in place, a wire with a tiny hook on the end is passed through it and planted in the mass. Then the needle is removed, and the wire serves as a guide to the lump.
If your doctor suspects that you have inflammatory breast cancer, he or she may do what’s called a punch biopsy on the skin of your breast, using a cylindrical needle 3 or 4 millimeters in diameter. This outpatient procedure requires only local anesthesia.
Will a biopsy leave a scar?
The more invasive a biopsy is, the more of a scar it will leave. Scar tissue inside the breast may harden and feel lumpy. An incisional biopsy that removes part of a lump will leave behind not only a scar but also the rest of the lump.
As the tissue heals, ask your doctor how to tell the difference between scar tissue and a new lump when you do your breast self-exams.
Remember, too, that the vast majority of biopsies turn out benign, but the earlier a biopsy catches a cancer tumor, the more likely a woman is to overcome it.