Biopsy is the process of removing tissue from an area of abnormal cell changes within the breast. It may involve removing a small portion of the tissue change or it may involve removal of the entire area of tissue change. How much tissue is removed is dependent on clinical, mammogram and ultrasound findings.

At MammoCare, our priority is to provide as accurate a diagnosis as possible. However, this has to be balanced against the degree of invasiveness required to obtain diagnostic information. Therefore, Dr Tan will perform a clinical examination and review the imaging findings before suggesting the best type of biopsy for the unique condition that each patient presents with.

There are several types of biopsy techniques which may be used to obtain tissue for examination. Fine needle aspiration biopsy allows cells to be removed from the zone of tissue changes. However, this type of biopsy may not remove the entire area of tissue change. Core biopsy or trucut biopsy takes small sections of the tissue change. This type of biopsy may provide a little more information than core biopsy but also may not remove the entire area of abnormality.

The two types of biopsy methods that enable removal of the entire area of tissue change are mammotomy (vacuum-assisted breast biopsy) and surgical excision (removal through conventional operation). Mammotomy is a minimally invasive method of removing the entire abnormality, thus providing diagnostic accuracy without false negative results.1 Likewise, surgery also provides complete diagnostic information. However, surgery usually requires general anaesthesia and where possible, it is preferable that operation is avoided. Nevertheless, surgery may be required if the abnormality is close to or more than 30 mm in size.

As each situation is unique for our individual patients, please allow our doctor at MammoCare to assess your condition before making a recommendation for the method of biopsy that would best suit you should your findings warrant further tests.


  1. Povoski SP, Jimenez RE, Wang WP. Ultrasound-guided diagnostic breast biopsy methodology: retrospective comparison of the 8-gauge vacuum-assisted biopsy approach versus the spring-loaded 14-gauge core biopsy approach. World J Surg Oncol 2011, 987.

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Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital
38 Irrawaddy Road, #06-21
Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital
Singapore 329563
Phone: (65) 6694 1706

Mount Elizabeth Orchard
3 Mt Elizabeth, #11-02,
Mount Elizabeth Medical Centre
Singapore 228510
Phone: (65) 6734 4880

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