Buddy Check 3: Understanding breast biopsy

Buddy Check 3

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – For many women, a mammogram is quick to rule out any signs of cancer. But when a mammogram reveals an abnormality, the next step to diagnosis is usually a biopsy.

Dr. Jordan Dixon, a diagnostic radiologist at the St. Joseph’s/Candler Telfair Pavilion, says she makes the decision to perform a biopsy when she feels it’s needed in order to more accurately diagnose a patient.

“We compare the imaging year to year and see if there are any changes over time and take some cells out using a needle,” she said.

Dixon walked WSAV News 3 through the process:

  1. “We first of all, lay the lady or man on their back with their arm above their head and we clean the skin.”
  2. “Then we give them a small numbing shot with lidocaine.”
  3. “We put the biopsy needle in through the skin, take some samples, and then send that off to the pathologist.”
  4. “We put a little marker clip in after we’ve taken the samples using a different needle. And this just marks the area where we took the cells out.”

“We’re just sampling anything that’s new, different or suspicious,” Dixon said, adding, “So most things that we do sample end up benign. We just like to be extra cautious.”

The radiologist says minor bleeding and bruising can be expected. She recommends wearing a sports bra afterward to increase comfort.

Additionally, Dixon said there are many avenues through the hospital, county or state that can help patients fund the test.

A biopsy is usually a quick and safe procedure.


Regular breast self-exams are key to early detection, and Buddy Check 3 is here to help with reminders on the third of each month. For any breast health questions, call St. Joseph’s/Candler at 912-819-5703.

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