Breast Biopsy Methods

Advanced Laparoscopic, Bariatric, Endoscopic & General Surgery

Summary of Breast Biopsy Methods


Used For

Needle Sample size





Sample tissue from solid mass or calcium deposits

10, 11, or 14 gauge needle; several (5-6) samples are removed


Larger sample than FNA can lead to more accurate diagnosis; no stitches or internal scar

Multiple needle insertions; limited sample size may underestimate more serious diagnosis

Vacuum-Assisted (Mammotome or MIBB)

Primarily used for calcifications

11 or 14 gauge needle. Requires 0.25 inch incision (approx. 0.6 cm); several (8-10) samples are removed


Excellent for calcium deposits; removes several large samples with one needle insertion; no stitches; minimal scar

May be less accurate than surgical biopsy which removes entire lesion; not ideal for hard-to-reach lesions (i.e., near chest wall); operator dependent

Open Surgical

Masses, hard-to-reach lesions, (i.e. near chest wall) multiple lesions; masses with micro-calcifications

Requires 1.5 to 2 inch incision (approx. 4.0 to 5.0 cm); golf ball size area of tissue or more is removed

Heavy sedation; sometimes general anesthesia

Yields largest tissue sample; most accurate method of diagnosis (near 100%)

Causes permanent scar that may make future mammograms difficult to read; possible breast disfigurement; requires stitches and longer recovery


Once the procedure is complete, the biopsy is sent to the pathologist for evaluation under a microscope. The results are reported back to the patient by their practitioner approximately 2-3 days after the biopsy procedure is complete.

Today’s women and men have the advantage of rapid, accurate sampling of the breast abnormality, helping to alleviate the worry and apprehension of a breast cancer diagnosis. It's important to remember that on average 80% of biopsies come back non-cancerous. In the case a cancer diagnosis is the reality, the quick and early diagnosis can be key to successful treatment. The Mammotome-System helps the doctors at Great Lakes Surgical Associates quickly and accurately diagnose cancerous breast tissue for their patients, so the appropriate treatment can be sought in the most efficient manner.

Breast Cancer

ribbonOne in eight women or 12.6% of all women will get breast cancer in her lifetime. Breast cancer risk increases with age and every woman is at risk. Every 13 minutes a woman dies of breast cancer. Seventy-seven percent of women with breast cancer are over 50. Early detection of breast cancer offers the best chance for survival. Ninety-six percent of women who find and treat breast cancer early will be cancer-free after five years!

Alma Office

Warwick Medical Plaza
315 Warwick Drive, #3
Alma, MI 48801

Phone: (989) 463-6699
Fax: (989) 466-2574

Office Hours:
Monday - Friday
8am - 5pm

Mt. Pleasant Office

4851 E Pickard St
Mt. Pleasant, MI 48858

Phone: (989) 463-6699
Fax: (989) 466-2574

Midland Office

MidMichigan Medical Center-Midland
Towsley Building
4201 Campus Ridge Drive, Suite 4050
Midland, MI  48640
Towsley Building Entrance - take elevator on right to 4th floor

Phone: (989) 463-6699
Fax: (989) 466-2574

Office Hours:
Thursdays - Bi-Weekly
1pm - 5pm

Clare Office

602 Beach Street
Suite 2240
Clare, Michigan 48617
Across from the Dougherty Hotel, behind the hospital

Phone: (989) 463-6699
Fax: (989) 466-2574

Hospital Affiliations

All of the surgeons at Great Lakes Surgical Associates have full, unrestricted privileges to practice general surgery at the two major hospital systems in Gratiot and Isabella Counties: Gratiot Medical Center and Central Michigan Community Hospital. We perform surgery at the following locations:
    MidMichigan Medical Center - Gratiot
    Mount Pleasant Surgery Center - Mount Pleasant
    MidMichigan Medical Center - Midland
GLSA Offices are also equipped with surgery suites for indicated office procedures.

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GLSA does not discriminate. Please read our non-discrimination policy listed below.

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