What You Need to Know About Breast Biopsies
Once a breast lump or abnormality has been detected, your doctor may want
you to have a breast biopsy. A biopsy is the only way to achieve an
accurate diagnosis of a breast problem.
Approximately 1 million breast biopsies are performed each year; 60 to 80 percent show benign (non-cancerous) results. This means that up to 80 percent of the patients who undergo a biopsy will not need to have breast surgery.
The Breast Imaging team at BIDMC performs these minimally invasive breast
biopsy procedures in order to further assess abnormalities seen on mammogram, breast ultrasound and breast MRI:
How to Prepare for Your Biopsy
Patients generally tolerate breast biopsies very well, as a numbing agent
is used, but you may feel some pressure during the procedure. Let our
specialists know if you feel any pain or if there is anything we can do to
help make you more comfortable.
Due to an increased risk of bleeding during and after biopsies, you may
need to stop using blood thinning medications beforehand.
Call us at 617-754-9500 at least one week before your biopsy if you current
take aspirin, NSAIDS (Motrin, Advil, or Aleve), Heparin,
Coumadin or Plavix.
Do not use deodorant or lotion beforehand: these can show up as specks
on breast images, making it more difficult to locate the area of
Wear a two-piece outfit that you can change out of easily.
Bring or wear a soft bra or a sports bra for additional comfort.
You will be able to drive yourself home or take public transportation,
but you may still want to bring someone with you for support.
After Your Biopsy
After your tissue sample is obtained, a small titanium clip is placed in
the breast to help identify the biopsy site in the future. You will not be
able to see or feel the clip. Once inserted, you will have a mammogram to
ensure that the clip is in the right spot.
In most cases, there will be no scar from the biopsy procedure. Any
bruising on your breast afterwards is temporary.
To treat any discomfort, you can use ice and take a pain reliever, such
as acetaminophen, if needed.
It is okay to shower the following day, but avoid baths and hot tubs.
Wear and sleep in a soft bra for the next 24 to 36 hours for extra
Refrain from strenuous activity/exercise for at least one day.