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"Will a breast biopsy leave one breast looking different from the other one?"


They are going to biopsy a section of my breast. I am 40 already. Will the two breasts look very different from one another? I don't want them to be different.


Sorry to hear that you are worried about your upcoming breast biopsy. This is definitely something that you should discuss with your breast surgeon. It is impossible to answer this question completely without more information from you, which is beyond the scope of this Q/A forum, and all the more reason it is important to have a good conversation with your physician.

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There are multiple different biopsy techniques, each with its own indication and pro's/con's. The decision about which technique to use is a decision made between you and your surgeon taking into account the size, location, morphology, and whether or not your mass is palpable. With that being said, I can give you some general information about different biopsy techniques. This is by no means all inclusive, however you can think of biopsy techniques as being in 2 different large categories; percutaneous (no skin incision), and open surgical technique. There are multiple different percutaneous techniques, however some of the more common ones are FNA (Fine Needle Aspirate), core biopsy, and vacuum assisted needle biopsy. FNA is a common technique where a small needle is passed multiple times through a palpable mass to try and obtain a representable sample of tissue. The benefit is that is is easy to perform, and has low morbidity (low complication rate, pain, etc). The chance of a contour defect after an FNA is negligible, unless the mass has a cystic component which is aspirated. Unfortunately FNA biopsies are not 100% sensitive (ie the needle biopsy may not be a representable sample). This technique can also be performed with image guidance if the mass it not palpable. If more tissue is needed, a core biopsy (larger needle), or vacuum assisted needle biopsy can be done. By definition open surgical biopsies involve a skin incision which could potentially scar and cause a contour defect. There are 2 main categories of open biopsy, incisional (taking a piece of the mass), and excisional (removing the mass). The open techniques will have a higher risk of a contour defect since you are removing more tissue, however this risk may still be very low. The bottom line is your surgeon will be able to give you better information on your particular case, so I recommend having an open discussion with them. I hope this helps.

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