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In this procedure, the breast is numbed with a local anesthetic. The radiologist then uses ultrasound to locate the area of the abnormality. A needle is inserted and guided to the abnormal tissue with the assistance of the ultrasound images to ensure proper positioning. Once the needle is in position, tissue samples are collected in one of three ways:
  • Fine needle aspiration: the sample is drawn through the needle into a syringe
  • Core needle biopsy: a mechanism in the needle takes tissue samples called "cores"
  • Vacuum-assisted device (VAD) - vacuum pressure is used to pull samples into a chamber
After taking samples, the needle is removed. A small marker may be left in the breast at the location of the abnormality so it can be easily relocated if future treatment is needed.

 

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