Women's Imaging Raleigh, NC


Women’s Imaging

Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in women behind lung cancer. However, many cases of breast cancer are curable if caught early. Mammography has been proven to be the best tool in detecting breast cancer early and therefore offers the best chance at preventing death by detecting the tumor before it has a chance to spread. Mammography also sometimes detects areas in the breast that may look suspicious but are not cancer. It can be impossible to differentiate these from cancer without further investigation. This investigation can include additional mammogram pictures, breast ultrasound, and even biopsy. Statistically, 80% of breast biopsies turn out to be non-cancerous. In the past, all biopsies for mammogram abnormalities were performed as surgical procedures in which the skin was opened and a portion of breast tissue was removed.

Procedure Description

Minimally invasive breast biopsy was developed in the 1980s.This technique allows for a highly accurate diagnosis through 5mm (1/4 inch) incision without the need for open surgery (other names for this type of biopsy are stereotactic biopsy, Mammotome biopsy, and vacuum assisted breast biopsy). A minimally invasive biopsy allows the tissue in question to be removed through a needle attached to a vacuum device. The needle is guided precisely to the abnormality using digital mammography (a mammogram obtained with computer techniques). The needle placement is confirmed to be in accurate position by the images, assuring the highest accuracy possible. The vacuum allows the abnormal area to be sampled without disturbing the normal surrounding tissue. The tissue can then be examined by a pathologist to determine if cancer is present.  A tiny marker clip may be placed at the time of the biopsy to mark the site of the biopsy. Most  women are candidates for this minimally invasive breast biopsy and thus have options when selecting a biopsy procedure.

Ultrasound guided breast biopsy services are offered at our Cary and Blue Ridge locations.

  • FAQ

    How long does the procedure take?

    Typically about 45 minutes to an hour for the entire process. The biopsy itself takes only minutes.

    Am I put to sleep?

    No. That is one of the advantages of minimally invasive breast biopsy. Local anesthesia is used so that you do not feel pain during the procedure. As soon as the procedure is finished, you are able to leave since you don’t have to recover from deep anesthesia.

    Will my insurance cover this procedure?

    Medicare and most insurance providers do cover this procedure. It typically costs less than a breast biopsy performed in the operating room.

    What are the benefits of this type of biopsy compared to a surgical biopsy?

    The incision is much smaller, usually only 5mm (1/4 inch) in length. The recovery time is much shorter—most women are back to their routine activities the day following the biopsy. While there may be temporary bruising, there is typically no scarring with the minimally invasive biopsy.

    Are there medicines that I should not take before the procedure?

    Yes, anything that will thin your blood and make you more likely to bleed, such as: Coumadin, aspirin, ibuprofen, Naproxin, Motrin, and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agents (NSAIDS).

  • Exam Prep


    • Do not take any aspirin or blood thinners 5 days prior to biopsy.
    • Please bring any recent mammogram and breast ultrasound studies with you on the day of your appointment if they have not already been sent in preparation for your exam. We must have these studies to do biopsy.

    You will be lying on your stomach for this procedure. You will have to step up 2 steps to climb onto the table. If you think you cannot do this, please let us or your doctors know in advance of this procedure. Arrange for someone to drive you home after the procedure.