A lump that can be felt may or may not be seen on mammogram, but the addition of a mammogram to the examination may give additional information about the rest of the breast tissue so that nothing is missed. Often, subtle mammographic abnormalities are seen long before they grow to a size that can be felt. These too must be sampled for diagnosis. New stereotactic technology allows a minimally invasive core-needle biopsy of the questionable area.
If breast size, or the nature of the lesion do not allow core-needle biopsy, the lesion must be pinpointed for surgical excision by needle-localization under x-ray guidance. The needle with the lesion and surrounding tissue are removed surgically under local anesthesia. The specimen is x-rayed to make sure the area of concern is removed. Examination of the tissue usually takes 3-5 working days.
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