biopsies can be either excisional or incisional.
removes the lump or the suspicious
area in its entirety. Excision is currently the standard procedure
for biopsying lumps that are smaller than an inch or so in
diameter. In effect it is similar to a "lumpectomy," surgery to
remove the lump and a margin of surrounding tissue, which is often
used (in combination with radiotherapy) as the basic treatment for
early breast cancer.
An excisional biopsy is typically performed in the outpatient
department of a hospital. A local anesthetic is injected into the
woman's breast, and perhaps she is given a tranquilizer. The
surgeon makes an incision along the contour of the breast and
removes the lump along with a small margin of normal tissue.
Because no skin is removed, the biopsy scar is usually small. The
procedure typically takes less than an hour. After spending an hour
or two in the recovery room, the woman goes home the same day.
removes only a portion of the tumor
(by slicing into or incising it) for the pathologist to examine.
Incisional biopsies are generally reserved for tumors that are
larger. They too are usually performed under local anesthesia, with
the woman going home the same day.
Whether or not a surgical biopsy will change the shape of your
breast depends partly on the size of the lump and where it is
located in the breast as well as how much of a "margin" of healthy
tissue the surgeon feels it is wise to remove. You should talk with
your doctor beforehand so you understand just how extensive the
surgery will be and what the result is going to look like.