Vacuum-Assisted Core Needle Biopsy is a procedure that involves removing small samples of tissue using a special probe. This probe has a vacuum line which draws the tiny amount of breast tissue through the opening of the probe, into the sampling chamber of the device. The tissue sample is carried through the probe to the collection area where the tissue sample is then captured.
Either ultrasound or stereotactic mammography guidance can be used. Stereotactic mammography uses computers to pinpoint the exact location of the mass or calcifications based on mammograms taken from two different angles. The coordinates will help the radiologist to guide the needle to the correct area. With ultrasound, our radiologist will watch the needle on the ultrasound monitor to help guide it to the area of concern. The patient will either be laying on their back (for ultrasound) or their stomach (for stereotactic).
Once a sufficient number of tissue samples have been collected, our radiologist will remove the probe and apply pressure to the biopsy site. In most cases, a tiny sterile metal clip will be placed to mark the location of the biopsy. The clip cannot be felt but is crucial to mark the exact site of the biopsy. An adhesive bandage will close the small skin nick and it will be covered with a dressing and ice pack. Minimal bruising is usually seen. The tissue samples are sent to the pathology laboratory for diagnosis, and the radiologist will call you with the results, generally within 24 hours. Most normal activities may be resumed the next day.