Breast Biopsy

What to Expect

What to Expect
Instructions Prior to a Breast Biopsy at the Breast Health Center
Your physician has ordered an out-patient breast biopsy for you. These instructions are written to help you prepare for the biopsy. Our goal is that these instructions and tips will decrease any concerns and questions you might have. Please follow these preparations and you should do well.
  • Although the actual procedure takes approximately 15 – 20 minutes plan on being at the Breast Health Center for 2 hours. It takes time to set-up and prepare for the biopsy and we also want you to rest and wait a short time after the biopsy is completed.
  • Whether you are scheduled to have your biopsy in the morning or early afternoon please have breakfast and lunch (time appropriate). We don’t want you to get dizzy or faint from hunger. This is especially important if you are diabetic and take oral medication or insulin.
  • Do not take any blood thinners (including coumadin, Motrin, ibuepropin, aspirin, non steroidal anti-inflammatory, garlic tablets, high doses of vitamin E) for three days before and three days after your biopsy. These medications cause your blood to be “thin” and we do not want you to bleed or bruise excessively.
  • Plan also on taking your regular medications (except blood thinners, aspirin, and non steroidal anti-inflammatory medications) on your regular medication time schedule the day of the biopsy.
  • The breast biopsy will be completed using a local anesthetic (similar to that used in dentist office procedures- lidocaine). Please tell the technologist if you have any allergies or sensitivities to any local anesthetics.
  • The area to be biopsied will be numbed with local anesthetic and the radiologist will make a tiny knick in the skin (approximately ¼ inch). Because we want to decrease the risk of bruising and bleeding at this site please wear a bra to the Breast Center on the day of your biopsy that is comfortable and supportive enough to be worn throughout the night. Wearing the bra to bed the first night will help you recover more quickly. We will also be giving you ice packs to use the first 24 hours. The ice pack will help decrease pain, discomfort and bruising.
  • Because we only use local anesthetic you can drive yourself home unless you find that your concerns or anxiety may make it difficult for you. Your driver/support person is welcome to wait for you in our lobby and will be updated as to your progress.
  • Please plan on taking it easy after your biopsy for the next 24 hours. You can go back to work if absolutely necessary but we want you not to carry or lift anything heavy or do any heavy chores or work. Also, we will have you place an ice pack at the biopsy site to decrease pain, swelling, and bleeding. This can be difficult to do at your work.

When You Need to Become Concerned

  1. If severe or progressive pain should occur
  2. If you develop severe swelling at the site of the biopsy
  3. If you experience excessive bleeding that won’t stop despite long pressure to the incision site
  4. If you experience an unexplained fever
Call your primary care physician if concerns regarding your biopsy site arise.
If Biopsy results are negative or benign it is still necessary for you to have a 6 month follow-up mammogram. Please schedule this with the Breast Health Center and check with your primary care physician (to receive a referral).
For questions or assistance please call the Breast Health Center at 909.469.9472

Discharge Instructions for Breast Biopsy

You have just had a breast biopsy. This procedure is to remove tissue in order to make a diagnosis. Here is some information and instructions to follow once you leave the Breast Health Center.
  1. When the anesthetic wears off you may experience mild discomfort or mild pain at the biopsy site. This is common and can be relieved with an over-the-counter (non-aspirin) analgesic such as Tylenol. Please follow the dose prescribed on the bottle. This discomfort will gradually subside in 6-24 hours. Do not use an aspirin containing product or anti inflammatory medication for 48 hours after the biopsy. If you do it may cause bleeding from the biopsy site. You may resume these medicines 48 hours after the biopsy (2 days).
  2. Ice the biopsy area this evening on and off throughout the evening until you go to bed. (Example: on 20 minutes, off 20 minutes). This will help decrease bleeding, swelling, pain and discomfort at the biopsy site.
  3. The biopsy site has small bandage strips on it called “steri-strips.” These steri-strips will help keep the incision closed and help it heal. Over that is a clear bandage that will protect the incision. Please wait 24 hours before you take a shower. Keep the clear bandage on the incision. The clear bandage will protect the incision from getting wet in the shower. The clear bandage can get wet; just dry it off gently when you get out of the shower. The clear bandage can be removed 1 – 2 days after the biopsy.
  4. Sleep in a soft bra the first evening. This will help reduce discomfort and pain at the biopsy site and decrease the chance of bleeding.
  5. Avoid unnecessary activity for the next 12 hours. If you are active, that may cause some bleeding from the incision site. Do not be alarmed as this happens occasionally. If you notice blood pooling under the clear bandage put a fresh ice pack to the site with some pressure (as you would with any cut). Hold constant pressure to the site for 10 – 15 minutes and rest quietly. That usually stops the bleeding. If there is a large amount of blood under the clear bandage and it leaks out, wipe up the drainage and continue to put pressure at the site if it is still bleeding. If the bleeding doesn’t stop you may call the Breast Health Center (if it is during business hours) and come in to have the bandage changed. If it is after business hours please contact your primary care physician.
  6. Keep the steri-strip bandages on and let them fall off by themselves. Do not remove them. If the edges of the steri-strips begin to curl, cut the edges. If you remove the steri-strips too early you may pull off a scab and cause the incision to bleed.
  7. If the steri-strip bandages and the clear bandage stay on the biopsy site for more than 2 weeks you may remove them gently. If your skin begins to blister or itch around the clear bandage you may be experiencing tape sensitivity or tape allergy. Gently remove the bandage and apply an over the counter ointment such as Neosporin.
  8. Biopsy results are not available until 48 hours minimum after the biopsy. Your doctor will receive these results directly from the Pathologist in the Lab at the main hospital. Please call your doctor for results or set up and appointment to obtain the results of your biopsy. If you are having difficulty getting your results you may call the Breast Health nurse who will be happy to assist you. Her number is listed below.


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