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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
What do I need to know about a breast biopsy?
A breast biopsy is a procedure to remove a sample of abnormal tissue from the breast. The abnormal tissue is sent to the laboratory and tested for cancer. Your healthcare provider may do a needle biopsy or an open biopsy.
How do I prepare for a breast biopsy?
- Your healthcare provider will talk to you about how to prepare for your procedure. He may tell you not to eat or drink anything after midnight on the day of your surgery. He will tell you what medicines to take or not take on the day of your surgery. You may be given contrast liquid during your procedure to help the breast tissue show up better in the pictures. Tell the healthcare provider if you have ever had an allergic reaction to contrast liquid. An MRI may also be used during your procedure. Do not enter the procedure room with anything metal. Metal can cause serious injury. Tell the healthcare provider if you have any metal in or on your body. Also tell him if you are pregnant or think you are pregnant. Special shields can be used during the procedure to keep your baby safe.
- Do not put on deodorant, lotion, or powder on the day of your procedure. These products may cause particles to appear on your x-ray. Wear loose-fitting clothing to your procedure. Arrange for someone to drive you home from your procedure.
What will happen during a needle breast biopsy?
- You may be given IV sedation to help you relax during your procedure. You may also be given local anesthesia to numb the surgery area. With local anesthesia, you may still feel pressure or pushing during your procedure, but you should not feel any pain. You may be given contrast liquid through your IV to help your breast tissue show up better in pictures.
- Your healthcare provider will make a small incision in your breast and insert a needle. The size and type of needle may depend on where the abnormal tissue is located. It may also depend on how large the abnormal tissue is. He may use x-ray, ultrasound, or MRI pictures to help guide the needle to the correct place. When the needle reaches the lump or abnormal tissue, samples will be taken. Your healthcare provider may use a syringe or small vacuum to help remove the tissue.
- After your healthcare provider takes samples, he may mark the area with a small wire or metal clip. He may also inject the area with liquid dye. This will help other healthcare providers find the abnormal tissue at a later time. The needle will be removed and a small bandage will be placed over your incision. Your healthcare provider may also wrap a tight-fitting bandage across both breasts. This may prevent bleeding, swelling, and pain at the incision.
What will happen during an open breast biopsy ?
You may be given general anesthesia to keep you asleep and free from pain during surgery. You may instead be given local anesthesia and IV sedation. Local anesthesia will numb the surgery area. With local anesthesia, you may still feel pressure or pushing during surgery, but you should not feel any pain. IV sedation will help you relax during surgery. Your healthcare provider will make an incision in your breast and remove all or part of the abnormal tissue. He will close the incision with stitches or strips of medical tape. A bandage will be placed over your incision. Your healthcare provider may also wrap a tight-fitting bandage across both breasts. This may decrease bleeding, swelling, and pain at the incision.
What will happen after a breast biopsy?
Healthcare providers will monitor you until you are awake. You may need an x-ray if a marker was inserted during your procedure. This will make sure that it is in the correct place. Bruising or swelling at the incision is normal and expected. Do not breastfeed for 24 to 48 hours if you received contrast liquid. The contrast liquid may harm your baby. You may go home after your procedure or you may need to spend a night in the hospital.
What are the risks of a breast biopsy?
You may bleed more than expected or get an infection. A pocket of blood or fluid may form under your skin. You may need surgery to drain or remove it. The biopsy needle may cause a hole in your lung. This may cause problems with your breathing. You may need other treatments or procedures to fix the hole. If you have an open biopsy, you may have scarring or changes in the shape of your breast.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.