What is a breast biopsy?
A biopsy of the breast is the removal of small fragments of tissue with a specially designed needle. The procedure is most often performed for an abnormality found on an ultrasound, not those detectable on a physical examination of the breast. The majority of these abnormalities are benign. However, surgical biopsy (removal of the abnormality) may be necessary in some patients, depending on the pathology of this biopsy.
On the day of your procedure, please wear comfortable clothes and a well-fitting bra. You may eat and/or drink liquids on the day of the biopsy and take medications.
Please be sure not to take aspirin for 36 hours before the procedure or NSAIDS (such as Advil®, Ibuprofren, Aleve® and Naproxen/Naprosyn) for 24 hours before the procedure.
The test is performed in the radiology department. Breast biopsy is performed with the aid of ultrasound. This allows the radiologist to determine the exact location of the abnormality in your breast and accurately remove tissue samples for evaluation by the pathologist. The test is safe and relatively painless, as local anesthesia is injected prior to the biopsy.
The needle is inserted through a tiny incision which will heal without a stitch. A tiny metal clip will be placed at the biopsy site. A gentle mammogram is done after clip placement. You will be in the radiology department for about an hour. The results of the biopsy are available from your doctor in a few days.
Post Breast Biopsy Instructions
- A bandage will be applied to the biopsy site after the procedure. The bandage may stay in place and be replaced as needed.
- An ice pack will be applied to the breast to relieve any swelling or bruising after the procedure. In preparation for your procedure, you may want to have an additional ice pack at home.
- You may notice bruising in the area of the biopsy. This is normal and should resolve in five to seven days.
- For the first 24 hours, do not bathe or shower the area of the breast biopsy. Keep this area as dry as possible.
- You may use two tablets of acetaminophen (Tylenol®) as needed for discomfort.
- After 24 hours, you may resume your regular activities. Swimming should be avoided until the wound heals.
- There are two major things you should watch for after the procedure:
- Bleeding – If bleeding occurs, it will normally develop within the first 24 hours. If you should notice any bleeding through the dressing, apply pressure for 20 minutes.
- Infection – If infection occurs, it will normally not develop until 48 to 72 hours after the procedure.
Signs to watch for are: redness or heat around the incision, excessive swelling, tenderness and drainage. If either condition exists, you may call your physician or 401.272.5500.