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Breast Biopsy 
 

 

A biopsy is a general term which simply means the removal of tissue for microscopic examination. This procedure is recommended when the radiologist wants to determine if an area of concern is or is not cancer. The biopsy is a safe procedure and few women experience any complications. The most common side effect is bruising and tenderness.

Stereotactic Biopsy

If you are recommended for this procedure, you have already had a diagnostic mammogram. Usually this biopsy is needed because the radiologist has found microcalcifications (tiny deposits of calcium) in those images. These microcalcifications sometimes can indicate the presence of breast cancer. A biopsy is necessary in order to know for sure.

Preparation
Wear a two-piece outfit so that it is easy to undress above the waist. Do not wear deodorant, talcum powder or lotion under your arms or on your breasts. You will need to undress from above the waist and put on a gown. All jewelry should be removed from around your neck. Please eat and drink as usual. If you are anxious, bring someone to drive you to and from your appointment.

Please let us know before you come in for this appointment if you have any problems with bleeding or are taking Coumadin, Heparin, Plavix, Aspirin, Flax Seed, Fish Oil, Gingko Biloba and/or Vitamins A, C or E. We may not be able to perform the biopsy if we do not know about these items before your appointment. If you are someone who needs antibiotic treatment before procedures, please contact your healthcare provider to get a prescription. Also let us know if you are or could be pregnant.

The Exam
For the stereotactic biopsy you will need to be on your stomach. Your skin will be cleaned with a special preparation of betadine (usually a brown/red solution). Your breast will again be compressed by the machine. More pictures will be taken of the breast that is going to be biopsied. This will help target the exact placement of the needle to get the correct samples. You also will receive a local anesthetic to numb the immediate area where the biopsy will be done. Once numb, the radiologist will take several samples of the breast tissue. You should expect to hear a “popping noise” during this process. During the biopsy, women typically report a sensation of pressure, but you should not experience any pain. If you feel pain, please tell the radiologist. After the biopsy, pressure will be placed on the biopsy site in order to lessen any bleeding that occurs. This is usually done by the medical assistant. After the biopsy, a bandage is placed on the skin and a small ice pack is placed over the biopsy site. The biopsy samples are sent to the lab for review. Your results are usually completed within 24 - 48 hours on weekdays. We will call you with the results.

Breast Ultrasound Biopsy

If you are recommended for this procedure, you have already had a Breast Ultrasound. The Breast Ultrasound was used to evaluate questions that were raised during a screening or diagnostic mammogram—usually to see whether a breast mass was suspicious for cancer or not. Certain non-cancerous findings in the breast can mimic breast cancer. Having the biopsy is the only way to know for sure.

Preparation
Wear a two-piece outfit so that it is easy to undress above the waist. Do not wear deodorant, talcum powder or lotion under your arms or on your breasts. You will need to undress from above the waist and put on a gown. All jewelry should be removed from around your neck. Please eat and drink as usual. If you are anxious, bring someone to drive you to and from your appointment.

Please let us know before you come in for this appointment if you have any problems with bleeding or are taking Coumadin, Heparin, Plavix, Aspirin, Flax Seed, Fish Oil, Gingko Biloba and/or Vitamins A, C or E. We may not be able to perform the biopsy if we do not know about these items before your appointment. If you are someone who needs antibiotic treatment before procedures, please contact your healthcare provider to get a prescription. Also let us know if you are or could be pregnant.

The Exam
For the Ultrasound Biopsy, the ultrasound machine will be used to guide the special needle to the correct location in the breast. You will be in the same position that you were in for your ultrasound. Your skin will be cleaned with a special preparation of betadine (usually a brown/red solution). Gel will again be applied to your breast. You will also receive a local anesthetic to numb the immediate area where the biopsy will be done. The radiologist will take a sampling of the cells. During the biopsy, women typically report a sensation of pressure, but you should not experience any pain. If you feel pain, please tell the radiologist. After the biopsy, the gel will be removed and pressure will be placed on the biopsy site in order to lessen any bleeding that occurs. If you feel pain, please tell the radiologist. After the biopsy, a bandage is placed on the skin and a small ice pack is placed over the biopsy site. The biopsy samples are sent to the lab for review. Your results are usually completed within 24 - 48 hours on weekdays. We will call you with the results.

Breast Biopsy Expectations

Whether having a stereotactic or ultrasound biopsy of the breast, it is normal to have a small amount of oozing from the biopsy site. Bruising in the area will be present but usually clears up within a week. You will experience tenderness around the biopsy area. You may take your usual pain medication, but we recommend that you avoid taking aspirin. Contact us if:

  • You have excessive swelling.
  • Bleeding does not stop.
  • You show signs of infection (redness, warmth, increased tenderness or unusual drainage –yellow or green).
  • You have persistent or increasing pain not relieved by your pain medication.

 

Breast Biopsy Follow-Up Care

With both biopsy procedures, below are biopsy site care tips to help ensure a prompt recovery.

  • Apply ice to the breast to relive swelling/bruising after the procedure.
  • Remove the pressure dressing (Ace Bandage) the next day after biopsy.  Do not shower or bathe until you remove bandaging.
  • Do not remove the steri-strip/tape – allow it to come off by itself.  You may bathe or shower with the tape in place.
  • You may notice bruising in the area of your biopsy site.  This should resolve in five to seven days.
  • If you need to take medication for discomfort, you may take any NON-ASPIRIN pain reliever (ie. Tylenol, Motrin, Aleve, etc.).
  • Do not participate in strenuous activity or heavy lifting for 24 hours.
  • If bleeding begins, apply pressure for ten minutes.  If bleeding persists, apply pressure an additional ten minutes.  If bleeding does not stop, contact your physician or closest emergency facility.

 

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