Skip to Content

  • Wait Times
  • Site Search

Tests and Procedures

MidMichigan Health - Breast Health Assessment Icon

Take our FREE 5 minute breast health assessment to estimate your risk of developing breast cancer.

Preparing for Your Breast Biopsy

Why a Breast Biopsy is Performed

A breast biopsy is performed when a mammogram, ultrasound or physical examination has found a lump, abnormality, or suspicious microcalcifications. This procedure involves taking sample tissue from the suspicious area. A biopsy allows a pathologist to examine the abnormal tissue under a microscope to determine what it is and whether it could possibly be cancerous.

Breast Biopsy Methods

Several factors determine which biopsy method should be used, including the location and size of the area in question. Your doctor may recommend one of the following breast biopsy methods:

Ultrasound Guided Breast Biopsy

This method uses ultrasound to locate the abnormality and to provide precision and guidance while obtaining the samples. Once located, the area is numbed and a small incision is made so an instrument can be gently inserted to obtain tissue samples for the pathologist to review.

Learn more about preparing before and after, how the procedure is done and how to obtain your results.

Stereotactic Needle Biopsy

A stereotactic biopsy uses mammography and computer plotting to identify the breast abnormality. This method is frequently selected to sample microcalcifications of concern. The patient lies on her stomach with the breast fitted through a hole in the table. The breast is numbed, and a small incision is made. The instrument obtains numerous samples, which are sent to the pathologist for review.

Learn more about preparing before and after, how the procedure is done and how to obtain your results.

Surgical Biopsy

This is the content area for Panel 3 A surgical biopsy may be suggested to sample or remove the area in question. For this procedure it is necessary to come to the Day Surgery area. You may or may not need the assistance of mammography or ultrasound to help identify the location of the abnormality. A wire is guided to the abnormality and serves as a guide for the surgeon to locate the area to biopsied. Your surgeon and Anesthesiologist will determine what type of sedation or anesthesia is used for your surgical procedure.

MRI Guided Breast Biopsy

An MRI guided breast biopsy is used when MR imaging reveals a breast abnormality, such as a suspicious mass unidentified by other surgical techniques, an area of distortion, or an area of abnormal tissue change. The biopsy is typically performed within a closed MRI system with a specially modified table where breasts hang freely from cushioned openings. MR imaging is used to assist in guiding the radiologist's instruments to the site of abnormal growth. MRI guided breast biopsy is offered at MidMichigan Medical Centers Midland and Gratiot.

Have Questions?

We can help, contact one of our program coordinators today.

Center for Women's Health; Kathleen Ludwig (989) 837-9070

MidMichigan Medical Center - Gratiot; Candy Bendon (989) 466-7253

Or email at

Related Locations