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Surgical Breast Biopsy: Your Experience

A surgical breast biopsy is done to remove a sample of tissue from the breast. This tissue is then sent to a lab to be studied. Most surgical breast biopsies are done in a hospital or clinic. They are performed on an outpatient basis.

Woman talking to healthcare provider.
Be sure to tell your healthcare provider about all medicines you take.

Understanding the risks

Risks that may occur with surgical biopsy include:

  • Change in breast shape

  • Excessive bleeding or bruising

  • Failure to remove entire lesion

  • False-negative result

  • Infection

  • Poor wound healing

  • Problems from the anesthesia

Before the biopsy

Tell your surgeon about any medicines, vitamins, or herbs you take. This includes over-the-counter drugs, such as aspirin. Some of these may affect your body’s response during surgery. On the day of the biopsy, wear a loose shirt that buttons in front. Also, be sure to arrange for a trusted adult to drive you home.

After the biopsy

Usually you can go home the day of the biopsy. You may have bruising and swelling for a few days. If you need them, your surgeon may prescribe pain medicine. Ice packs can also help ease minor soreness or swelling. Leave your dressing on for as long as your surgeon suggests. Also, follow your surgeon’s advice about bathing and exercise.

When to call your surgeon

Call your surgeon if you have any of these symptoms:

  • Fever over 101°F

  • Increased pain, warmth, or redness at the puncture or incision site

  • Severe swelling that doesn’t go away in a few days

  • Drainage from the puncture or incision site

  • Bleeding that soaks through the dressing

Author: StayWell Custom Communications
Last Annual Review Date: 6/1/2017
Copyright © The StayWell Company, LLC. except where otherwise noted.
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