Breast Care

Also called a sonogram, this is an imaging technique that uses high-frequency sound waves to outline specific areas of the breast.

Breast ultrasound is used to evaluate possible breast abnormalities that are detected during a screening or diagnostic mammography or on a physical breast examination, as well as during an:

  • Ultrasound Needle Core Biopsy or
  • Fine Needle Aspiration.

Ultrasound Needle Core Biopsy

An ultrasound needle core biopsy is a procedure that involves removing small samples of breast tissue using a hollow “core” needle and ultrasound. The samples are examined under a microscope in order to detect the presence of cancer cells.

How to Prepare: On the day of your procedure, it is best to wear a comfortable, two-piece outfit since you will need to wear a gown. Also, avoid deodorants, perfumes, creams, powders or lotions. Patients should ask their healthcare provider about discontinuing blood thinners or aspirin prior to the procedure.

What to Expect: The biopsy will be done while you lie on an examination table. Your hands will be placed at your side or above your head making it easier for radiologist to find the lump. A local anesthetic (lidocaine) will be injected with a small needle to numb the area. Once the area is numb, a small incision (less than an inch) will be made in the skin and the biopsy needle will be inserted through the skin. The radiologist will guide the needle into the area of concern by feeling the lump or by ultrasound. Slight pressure during the procedure may be felt, but you should not experience any significant pain. The needle will be removed, pressure will be applied to the needle site to stop any bleeding, and a bandage will be applied.

Your Results: After the exam, the specimen will be sent to the pathologist and examined under the microscope. The findings will be sent to your healthcare provider, who will, in turn, forward the results to you.

Fine Needle Aspiration (FNA)

Fine needle aspiration (FNA) is often used to aspirate or drain fluid from benign (noncancerous) fluid-filled cysts. Cysts are the most common cause of palpable (felt) breast masses in premenopausal women older than 40 years.

FNA biopsies are performed by the radiologist. If the breast lump is small and cannot be felt, ultrasound may be used to help the radiologist guide the needle to the precise area of the breast. If the area shows to be solid or the fluid collected looks suspicious, the radiologist will likely recommend an additional biopsy. In the instance where there is a clearly benign diagnosis, this procedure may prevent you from undergoing surgery.

The entire procedure only takes a few minutes.

How to Prepare: On the day of your procedure, it is best to wear a comfortable, two-piece outfit since you will need to wear a gown. Also, avoid deodorants, creams, powders or lotions, which can interfere with the images.

What to Expect: You will lie on your back on a table. The radiologist will stabilize the lump between his or her fingers and insert a long, thin needle through the breast into the lump. Local anesthesia is not required because the needles used for FNA biopsies are smaller than needles used to draw blood. A vacuum is created to remove some tissue from the lump.

Once an adequate amount of breast tissue has been obtained, the needle is withdrawn, and pressure is applied to minimize bruising.

Your Results: The tissue collected will be sent for review by the pathologist. Your results will be forwarded to your healthcare provider.


What is mammography?

A mammogram is a very safe low-dose X-ray examination of the breasts that is used to to detect and diagnose breast diseases. A screening mammography is used for women with no symptoms and is a tool in the prevention of breast disease. A diagnostic mammography is for women with symptoms, i.e., breast mass, nipple discharge and breast pain or skin irritation.

Do you accept all insurance plans?

Most health insurance plans that participate with Long Island Community Hospital are accepted. To ensure your insurance is accepted, it is advisable you contact your insurance company’s telephone number on the back of your card.

Why do I need a doctor's prescription to have my exam?

It is a requirement that a doctor prescribes the test. We want to ensure you are getting the proper care as requested by your doctor.

When should I schedule my mammogram?

Schedule your mammogram after you obtain a prescription from your doctor. Your doctor should perform a clinical breast examination, and you should discuss any problems you may have with your breasts. Usually the best time for your mammogram is one week after your menstrual cycle when your breasts are less tender.

Why do I need to arrive 15 minutes before my actual appointment time?

We want to ensure you have enough time to be registered and to complete the required forms.

Why do I need to bring my prior films?

If you have had prior studies, it is in your best interest to bring any films as well as any reports with you. In some cases, it may prevent the need for you to return for additional imaging if the radiologist has prior studies to compare your scans to.

What do I need to do to prepare for my mammography?

On the day of your examination:

  • Remember to bring your prescription, health insurance card and photo ID with you.
  • Do not wear any deodorant, creams, lotions or powders.
  • Inform the technologist if there may be a chance you could be pregnant.

Who will perform my exam?

All exams are performed by highly trained certified technologists. Some procedures are performed by a board-certified radiologist.

What should I expect during my mammography?

The technologist will ask you to remove any jewelry and clothing from the waist up and will give you a gown with the opening to the front. The technologist will help guide and position your breasts on the platform of the machine. A compression paddle will compress your breasts to evenly spread out breast thickness so that small abnormalities will not be obscured.  You will be asked to change positions in between images. This is repeated for each breast.

What will I experience during the examination?

The examination takes approximately a half an hour. Some women with sensitive breasts may feel minor discomfort. During the examination, you will feel pressure on the breasts as they are compressed. The technologist should be informed if any pain is significant, as compression is increased during the examination. The technologist will adjust the compression as necessary.

Will I need to return for additional images?

It is not uncommon for the radiologist to request additional imaging to obtain more detailed information of a specific area.

How will I receive the results of my exam?

Our radiologists are board certified by the American College of Radiology (ACR) and will interpret your study. You will receive the results of your exam by mail within a few days. Your referring physician will receive the actual report. Any suspicious findings are faxed to your referring physician immediately, and you will be notified by mail.


Breast Cancer and the New Normal
Open Support Group

Join our Open Group once a month from 7:00pm – 8:30pm
Discuss issues relevant to your Diagnosis, Treatment and Survivorship.
Location: Be Gentle Psychotherapy 122 West Roe Blvd., Patchogue NY
A free service for breast cancer patients. Call 631-654-7577 for details.