Breast Imaging (Mammography)
Mammograms are X-ray exams taken of the breast and are most often used to screen for breast cancer in women who have no symptoms. Mammograms and other breast imaging tests can also be used in women experiencing symptoms like pain, a lump or a suspicious change seen on a screening mammogram.
A stereotactic breast biopsy is performed when a mammogram indicates a breast abnormality like a suspicious solid mass, microcalcifications (a cluster of tiny calcium deposits), distorted breast tissue structure or an abnormal change in the tissue.
Using a computer and X-rays from two different angles, a radiologist can pinpoint the precise location of breast tissue to be examined. The area is numbed with local anesthesia and a needle is guided into the tissue. Small samples are removed and analyzed with a microscope for abnormalities.
MRI of the breast offers valuable and detailed information about many breast conditions that may not be visible by other imaging methods, such as mammography or ultrasound. It can be a valuable tool to improve detection of breast cancer in women who are considered to have a higher risk of developing breast cancer or in those who have very dense breast tissue.
MRI-Guided Breast Biopsy
An MRI-guided breast biopsy is performed when a mammogram or ultrasound indicates a breast abnormality. Using a magnetic field, radio frequency, and a computer to produce detailed pictures, a radiologist will pinpoint the precise location of the breast tissue to be examined. The area is numbed with local anesthesia and a needle is guided into the tissue. Small samples are removed and analyzed with a microscope for abnormalities.
Breast ultrasound uses sound waves to make images of the breast. It is non-invasive and often used as a follow-up test after an abnormal finding on a mammogram, breast MRI or clinical breast exam. If a needle biopsy is needed, breast ultrasound may also be used to help guide the procedure.