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Vacuum-assisted Breast Biopsy


Vacuum-assisted breast biopsy is a surgical procedure to remove a lump from your breast. It may be used to diagnose lumps that are small, deep, or cannot be felt. A needle attached to a suction is used to remove tissue from the breast. Healthcare providers may use an ultrasound with a monitor to guide the procedure.


Before your procedure:

  • Bring your medicine bottles or a list of your medicines when you see your healthcare provider. Tell your provider if you are allergic to any medicine. Tell your provider if you use any herbs, food supplements, or over-the-counter medicine.
  • Ask your healthcare provider if you need to stop using aspirin or any other prescribed or over-the-counter medicine before your procedure or surgery.
  • Tell your healthcare provider if you know or think you might be pregnant.
  • Arrange a ride home. Ask a family member or friend to drive you home after your surgery or procedure. Do not drive yourself home.
  • You may need to have a mammogram, ultrasound, x-rays, blood tests, or other tests. Ask your healthcare provider for more information about these and other tests that you may need. Write down the date, time, and location of each test.
  • Write down the correct date, time, and location of your procedure.


What will happen:

  • Anesthesia medicine will be given to numb the area where the procedure will be done.
  • Your healthcare provider will make a small incision in your skin where the lump is located. The needle probe will be inserted through this incision and slowly moved to the area of the lump. A small amount of breast tissue will be suctioned, cut, and collected in the probe. When enough samples are taken, the probe will be removed. A marker or clip will then be placed in the area. Pressure will be applied to the area and the incision covered with a bandage. The samples collected will be sent to a lab for tests.

After your procedure:

A small bandage will cover the biopsy area on your breast. You may need to wear a device that puts pressure on the biopsy area and helps stop any bleeding. You may need to have one or more mammogram pictures taken to check the position of the marker clip. You will be able to go home after the procedure.


  • You cannot make it to your procedure appointment on time.
  • You have a fever.
  • You have a skin infection or a wound near the area where the biopsy will be done.
  • You have questions or concerns about your procedure.

Seek Care Immediately if

  • You feel a new lump in your chest, other breast, or armpit.
  • You have discharge coming from your breast.
  • You have redness, swelling, or severe pain in the breast.


A vacuum-assisted breast biopsy may cause bruising or discomfort in the area where the biopsy was done. You may bleed more than expected or get an infection. If a nerve is hit, an abnormal reflex may occur. This may cause a slowing of heartbeat, decreased blood pressure, loss of consciousness, or too much sweating. If you do not have the breast biopsy, you may have cancer and not know it.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

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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.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.