Excisional Breast Biopsy

An excisional breast biopsy surgically removes an entire tumor or abnormal area from the body. This procedure is performed when the tissue being removed is not known to contain cancer. Both lesions that can be felt by the patient or ones that are only noted on imaging (mammogram, ultrasound, or MRI) but cannot be felt can be removed.

Sometimes the tissue removed has undergone a needle biopsy [link to needle biopsy page] prior; sometimes it has not. The area of tumor or abnormal tissue is removed while leaving the normal breast tissue alone. Most commonly, this is an outpatient (day surgery) surgical procedure.

Following the biopsy, a pathologist will examine the tissue under a microscope to determine if it contains cancerous cells. If breast cancer is found, your doctor will discuss additional tests needed to learn more about the cancer and how to best treat it.