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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:

  • Arrange to have someone drive you home after your procedure.
  • Tell your healthcare provider about all medicines you currently take. He or she will tell you if you need to stop any medicine before your procedure, and when to stop. He or she will tell you which medicines to take or not take on the day of your procedure.
  • You may need to have a mammogram, ultrasound, x-rays, blood tests, or other tests. Ask about these and other tests that you may need. Write down the date, time, and location of each test.

The day of your procedure:

You or a close family member will be asked to sign a legal document called a consent form. It gives healthcare providers permission to do the procedure or surgery. It also explains the problems that may happen, and your choices. Make sure all your questions are answered before you sign this form.


What will happen:

Your healthcare provider will inject anesthesia medicine to numb the area. He or she will make a small incision 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.

After your procedure:

A small bandage may be placed over the area where the needle was put into your skin. Your healthcare provider may have you put pressure on this bandage to help decrease swelling. Do not get out of bed until your healthcare provider says it is okay. When your healthcare provider sees that you are okay, you may be able to go home.


  • 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.


You may have pain or bruising in the area where you had your biopsy. You may get an infection where the needle entered your body. The needle may cause nerve damage. You may bleed more than expected. 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.

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.