Skip to Content

Excisional Breast Biopsy


An excisional breast biopsy is a surgical procedure to remove a lump from your breast. It is also called a lumpectomy. An excisional breast biopsy is done to diagnose one or more lumps in the breast. The sample will be sent to a lab for testing. Most breast lumps are benign (not cancer).



  • Pain medicine: You may be given a prescription medicine to decrease pain. Do not wait until the pain is severe before you take this medicine.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Call your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Follow up with your healthcare provider or breast specialist as directed:

You may need to return to have your stitches removed or have more tests. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Wound care:

You may remove your bandage 2 days after your procedure. Ask how to care for your wound, including what to do before you bathe.


Ice helps decrease swelling and pain. Use an ice pack, or put crushed ice in a plastic bag. Cover it with a towel and place it over your wound for 15 to 20 minutes every hour or as directed.


  • Wear a support bra: Wear a support bra, such as a sports bra, at all times until your wound heals. The support bra will help decrease breast movement and discomfort after your procedure.
  • Return to daily activities: You may be able to return to most of your normal activities the day after your procedure. You may need to avoid activities, such as jogging or lifting heavy objects, until your wound has healed. Ask for more information about the activities you should avoid.
  • Do breast self-exams: Your healthcare provider or breast specialist may suggest you do a breast self-exam (BSE) each month to check for changes in your breast tissue. Ask your healthcare provider or breast specialist for more information and how to do BSE.
  • Do not smoke: If you smoke, it is never too late to quit. Smoking can affect how well your wound will heal. Ask for information if you need help quitting.

Contact your healthcare provider or breast specialist if:

  • You have a fever.
  • You have increased pain or swelling in your breast.
  • Your wound is red, swollen, tender, or has pus coming from it.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Seek care immediately or call 911 if:

  • Your stitches or staples become loose or fall out.
  • Blood soaks through your bandage.

© 2016 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

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.