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Breast Biopsy


Most needle biopsies are performed in an outpatient setting with minimal preparation necessary. You may be instructed not eat or drink for eight hours before your biopsy. However, you may take your routine medications with sips of water. If you are diabetic and take insulin, you should talk to your doctor as your usual insulin dose may need to be adjusted.

Prior to a needle biopsy, you should report to your doctor all medications that you are taking, including herbal supplements, and if you have any allergies, especially to anesthesia. Your physician may advise you to stop taking aspirin or a blood thinner for a specific period of time before your procedure. Also, inform your doctor about recent illnesses and other medical conditions. You may be asked to wear a gown during the procedure.

Women should always inform their physician if there is any possibility that they are pregnant. Some procedures using image-guidance are typically not performed during pregnancy because radiation can be harmful to the fetus.

What will I experience during and after the procedure?

In a needle biopsy, you will feel a small sharp pinch at the site of the biopsy. In an open or closed biopsy that requires surgery, you will be given anesthesia to help with the pain.

When you receive the local anesthetic to numb the skin, you will feel a slight pin prick from the needle. You may feel some pressure when the biopsy needle is inserted. The area will become numb within a short time.

You may be given a mild sedative prior to the biopsy, and sedation or relaxation medication may be given intravenously during the procedure if needed. You may feel sore at the area of the biopsy for a few days. Your doctor can prescribe pain relief medication if you have significant pain from the biopsy. Aftercare instructions vary, but generally your bandage may be removed one day following the procedure, and you may shower as normal.