If we find something concerning (such as a lump or nipple discharge) during your breast exam or mammogram, we may recommend a breast biopsy.
What Is a Breast Biopsy?
A breast biopsy is a procedure where we take a small sample of tissue from the breast and look at the cells under a microscope. The biopsy helps us figure out if cancer cells are present. Most biopsies do not find cancer.
You may be awake or asleep during your biopsy, depending on what kind of biopsy your doctor recommends. For some biopsies, we'll extract the tissue with a needle. For others, a surgeon may make an incision to remove all or part of a lump.
Recovery time from the biopsy depends on the kind of anesthesia we use. If we put you to sleep with general anesthesia, we'll take you to a room and discharge you from there, usually the same day. If you have local anesthesia, you'll be free to go as soon as your provider okays it.
Sore or tender breasts are common after the biopsy. You should hold off on any strenuous exercise for a few days. Over-the-counter pain medication (as recommended by your doctor) and a supportive bra can help.
Why Trust Luminis Health With Your Breast Biopsy?
We're your one stop for every aspect of breast health, from routine screening to diagnosis and treatment. We:
- Are breast health specialists. We're one of the largest breast health centers in Maryland.
- Have nurse navigators to coordinate your care. That means there's always a friendly, helping hand to walk you through any screening tests and treatment.
- Get you in and out quickly. We provide quick results and short wait times.
What to Expect at Your Breast Biopsy
If your doctor schedules a breast biopsy, here are some things to keep in mind:
- Don't use cream, lotion, powder, perfume or deodorant on the day of the biopsy.
- For a needle breast biopsy, you'll remove your clothes from the waist up and wear a gown we provide. Once the anesthetic takes effect, we use ultrasound or stereotactic imaging to locate the lump. We insert the needle and draw out a tissue and/or fluid sample. You'll feel a bit of pressure but no pain. Then we apply a bandage to the biopsy site and send the sample to the lab.
- If you're getting a general anesthetic, you'll need to fast for a certain number of hours before the procedure (usually after midnight). Fasting usually isn't necessary for a local anesthetic.
- If you have general anesthesia, you'll have an IV line in your arm or hand and lie on an operating table. We watch your heart rate, blood pressure, breathing and blood oxygen during the procedure.
What you need to know about breast biopsies
A needle biopsy only takes 15-20 minutes. A surgical biopsy may take a little longer. You should have results from your biopsy in a few days.
If your doctor orders a breast biopsy it doesn't mean you have cancer. In fact, most biopsy results are not cancer. Often a lump or other change in the breast is a less serious problem. But getting a breast biopsy is the best way to know if a lump or other breast abnormality is cause for concern.