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  • Breast Ultrasound and Ultrasound Guided Breast Biopsy

  • Breast Ultrasound

    • What is a breast ultrasound?
      Breast ultrasound is a test using sound waves to image a palpable lump or an abnormality seen on a mammogram. The exam is performed by a certified technologist and interpreted by a board certified radiologist. Ultrasound does not produce any radiation. To perform the study, the technologist places gel on the breast and scan it with an ultrasound probe which is just like a fancy microphone. No preparation is needed for a breast ultrasound. Our ultrasound machine is specially designed for breast imaging. 

    Ultrasound Guided Breast Biopsy

    • What is an ultrasound guided breast biopsy?
      If a breast ultrasound reveals an abnormality, a biopsy (tissue sample) may be required for diagnosis. A large percentage of these abnormalities are benign and present no health risk. An ultrasound guided biopsy is a non-invasive, accurate way to obtain the tissue sample required for diagnosis. The procedure requires little recovery time and there is no significant scarring to the breast.
    • What should I expect from an ultrasound guided breast biopsy?
      The ultrasound guided breast biopsy is performed by a board certified radiologist who specializes in breast imaging. The radiologist is assisted by an ultrasound technologist who also specializes in breast imaging. This team has experience in these biopsies. Before you arrive, the radiologist will have studied you imaging exams to become familiar with the location of the abnormality.

      After checking in, you will be asked to change into a hospital gown and escorted to the biopsy suite. Occasionally, additional images may be obtained before the procedure for more precise evaluation.

      The technologist will ask you to lie down on the examination table, making sure you are as comfortable as possible.
    • How is an ultrasound guided breast biopsy performed?
      The first part of the procedure will seem much like your original breast ultrasound. Your breast will be scanned and the technologist and radiologist will mark your skin over the abnormality.

      The radiologist will clean your breast with antiseptic. Next, the radiologist will numb the part of the breast to be biopsied by injecting a local anesthetic. This is done with a tiny needle, and you may feel a stinging at this point. After the local anesthetic has taken effect, the radiologist will make a tiny incision (usually less than of an inch). Using the ultrasound image as a guide, the biopsy needle is placed through the abnormality. Typically, five biopsy samples (cores) are obtained.
    • How should I prepare for an ultrasound guided breast biopsy?
      In order to reduce the risk of bleeding during the procedure, we recommend that patients not take any aspirin product for 3 days prior to the procedure and not take any ibuprofen product (such as Advil or Motrin) for 24 hours prior to the procedure. If you are on prescription blood thinning medication such as coumadin or aspirin, please consult your physician prior to scheduling this exam.
    • What should I expect after the ultrasound guided breast biopsy?
      While you rest for a few minutes, a dressing is applied to the biopsy site. The radiologist will then discuss what to expect after the examination and what to do when you get home. You will also receive written post procedure instructions.

      Most women feel fine after the procedure. Tylenol may be used for relief of any discomfort. However, we recommend exercise or strenuous activity be avoided for twenty-four hours after the procedure. If possible, it's a good idea to go home after the procedure and relax.
    • How do I get the results of the ultrasound guided breast biopsy?
      The tissue samples will be sent to a pathologist after the biopsy. The pathologist will examine the tissue under a microscope and send a report to your doctor within a few days. If you do not have a scheduled follow-up appointment to discuss the results, give your doctor a call to arrange this.
    • Where do I park?
      Park in the Rhode Island Hospital Medical Office Center public parking lot on Dudley Street immediately adjacent to the Medical Office Center at 2 Dudley Street. 
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    For more information, or to make an appointment, please call the Anne C. Pappas Center for Breast Imaging at 401-444-MAMM (6266), or e-mail