Core Needle Biopsy
A core needle biopsy test takes a very small slither of tissue. Because the tissue is intact as opposed to individual cells, more information is derived from this test as the architecture of the breast tissue can be examined microscopically.
We use an injection of local anaesthetic prior to the core needle biopsy to numb the site. As a result, most patients will not feel anything further during the core needle biopsy procedure. The core needle biopsy is performed under ultrasound control for precise guidance. The needle mechanism is worked by a hand held machine that makes a snapping noise when the biopsy is taken.
The biopsy is usually completed 2-3 times with the needle being removed between each biopsy. It is necessary to press on the sight of the biopsy following the procedure to reduce the chances of bruising, however many patients will develop a mild bruise over the next 24-48 hours. Most patients find a needle biopsy quite comfortable and uncomplicated.
The small tissue sample obtained from a core needle biopsy needs extensive processing before it is ready to be examined by the Consultant Pathologist under a microscope. This usually takes 2-3 working days and the final result therefore is not available at the time of the biopsy. The Harley Street Breast Clinic aims to provide same day results as much as is possible and we have therefore developed a technique that takes individual cells from the surface of the solid cores of breast tissue (touch imprint cytology). These individual cells can be analysed within approximately 45 minutes and provide an immediate though provisional result. This method of rapid analysis is available on request and is more than 97% accurate. It is however not as accurate as the final result and so all patients will return for a final consultation.