Breast biopsy is a diagnostic method that allows you to determine the nature of atypical cells. The procedure is indicated when non-invasive research techniques, such as mammography or ultrasound, are ineffective. The primary goal of a mammary biopsy is to exclude or confirm cancer.
Indications for biopsy
A woman can contact a mammologist if, with self-palpation of the breast, she reveals seals and tangible neoplasms. Other symptoms that require an immediate visit to a specialist are pain and discomfort, the appearance of age spots on the skin, a change in the shape and color of the nipple, areola, discharge from the nipples of fluids not associated with pregnancy or lactation, the appearance of ulcers, flaky spots and more. Initially, a biopsy can be prescribed for accurate morphological identification of tumor cells. If the patient is already diagnosed with cancer, the biopsy goals may change - for example, an analysis is performed to determine the exact boundaries of the tumor.
In this case, punctures are performed in several places at once. This technique is effective if it is not possible to see the tumor using other research methods.
How to prepare for a biopsy
A mammary biopsy requires some preparation. First of all, 3-5 days before the procedure, the patient should refuse to take medications that reduce blood coagulation. In the event that this condition is not feasible, it is imperative to notify the specialist performing the cell sampling.
In addition, the patient should inform her attending physician about the presence of sensitivity to certain groups of drugs, about cardiac pathologies and an established pacemaker, pregnancy. On the day of the procedure, it is forbidden to apply any cosmetics on the chest, abdomen and armpits. A biopsy is performed using drugs for local anesthesia. In some cases, these funds can provoke a deterioration in well-being, so patients are advised to come to the study accompanied by people who can deliver them home after the procedure.
How is cell research
The sample obtained by sampling is dissected into thin plates. If the resulting tissue is contaminated with blood or other biomaterials, it is initially washed in physiological saline. In order to prevent changes in the structure of cells under the influence of the external environment, the tissue is stabilized with a 10% formaldehyde solution.
To study atypical cells, tissue is examined under a binocular magnifier or microscope. A specialist under the magnification has the opportunity to see the structure of the tissue, the presence of seals and necrosis, the presence of psammomas and vitreous bodies. The following is a study of the neoplasm cell itself - its shape, size. A characteristic feature of tumor cells is the large size and the presence of two or more nuclei. Comparing all the data obtained, the histologist can draw a conclusion about the nature of the tumor. Based on this conclusion, the attending physician sets the final diagnosis with the definition of further therapy.
Histology results can be of several types:
- incomplete - as a result of a biopsy, too little tissue was obtained or the histologist cannot give a conclusion because of the ambiguity of the results;
- normal - during the histological examination of tissue abnormalities were not detected;
- benign - the presence of a neoplasm is confirmed, but its benign nature is established;
- non-cancerous - atypical cells are not a tumor. Most often in this case we are talking about a cyst or mastitis;
- malignant - the diagnosis of cancer is confirmed.
Types of Breast Biopsy
Fine needle aspiration biopsy is a research method characterized by simplicity and speed. A thin hollow needle is inserted into the patient’s body and cells are drawn into the cavity under the influence of back pressure.
Thick needle biopsy - the technique is used when it is necessary to obtain a sufficiently large amount of biomaterial for histological examination, or if necessary, determine the boundaries of the neoplasm.
Stereotactic biopsy - thin or thick hollow needles are used to take cells. The same needle is inserted into different parts of the chest to determine the type of neoplasm located in the deep layers. In this case, strict control of the insertion of the instrument into the body is necessary, therefore, the procedure is performed using ultrasound machines and a modern mammogram.
Trepan biopsy is a surgical operation in which the tissue of the neoplasm is partially or completely excised.
To pick up the material, the Palinki needle is used - a special tool, which is a rod with a cutter, equipped with a hollow tube with a stylet. After the incision of the superficial tissues has been performed, the needle is inserted immediately prior to direct contact with the tissue being examined, and the biomaterial fills the flexible hollow tube. It usually takes a few punctures. This technique is the most informative, but it is associated with a high risk of developing postoperative complications, therefore it is prescribed only when other research methods do not allow an accurate diagnosis.
Only during the collection of cells with a thin needle does not apply anesthesia - such a diagnosis is associated with minimal pain. In all other cases, it is necessary to use local or general anesthesia, which can cause headaches, nausea, and loss of consciousness. Usually symptoms disappear on their own after 1-3 hours.
The skin may redden at the puncture site, and painful swelling or swelling may appear. In some cases, bleeding occurs, an increase in body temperature is noted. Such symptoms are an occasion to consult a specialist.
In most cases, a mammary biopsy is a procedure associated with minimal discomfort. But it makes it possible to diagnose the disease at an early stage - when it responds well to treatment.