Health Tests

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Harvard Medical School


What Happens During the Test?

You wear a hospital gown or undress from the waist up. After examining your breast to feel the lump and cleaning your skin with alcohol and other disinfectants, the doctor may inject a local anesthetic, but even without this numbing medicine, you should feel little pain. Next, he or she gently pinches your breast to hold the lump steady while taking the biopsy. The needle is attached to a syringe, a suction device that "aspirates" or pulls tissue into the needle. To get a good sample, the doctor moves the needle in and out of the lump several times.

In some cases ultrasound will be used to guide the needle.

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