Understanding Breast Biopsy
What is a breast biopsy?
A biopsy involves the removal of a small sample of tissue from the breast
so that it can be analyzed for atypical cells. Your doctor might recommend
a biopsy if there has been an abnormality noted on your mammogram.
Fact: Most breast biopsies reveal the suspicious spot to be benign or non-cancerous.
What is a needle localization biopsy and how is it done?
Needle localization biopsy involves the insertion of a thin wire into the
breast to mark the suspicious tissue for the surgeon.
- You go to the mammography unit where your breast will be compressed and
X-rays taken, in the same manner in which your routine mammograms are done.
- You will remain compressed while the radiologist views the X-rays immediately
to confirm that the suspicious area has indeed been captured on the film.
- While your breast is still compressed, the area will be numbed with a local
- The radiologist inserts a thin wire into the breast to pinpoint the suspicious tissue.
- More X-rays are taken to verify that the placement of the wire has been
accurate. Once accurate placement has been confirmed the wire is secured
- You go to the operating room where your surgeon removes the suspicious
tissue through an incision in the breast.
How do I prepare for my biopsy?
- Do not have anything to eat or drink after midnight the night before your
surgery, unless otherwise instructed by your surgeon
- Do not wear deodorant or powder.
- Arrange to have someone drive you home after your biopsy.
- Wear loose, comfortable clothing.
- Remember to bring your insurance information and a list of your medications
and supplements to the hospital.
- Do not bring valuables with you.
- Wear eyeglasses, not contact lenses.
Are there any special instructions after my biopsy?
Your doctor will give you specific instructions regarding your activity
level and wound care at the time of discharge. Generally, you should allow
72 hours for any anesthetic agents to be completely removed from your body.
- Avoid alcohol and any medicines not prescribed by your doctor during this time.
- Do not sign any important papers or operate dangerous machinery during
the first 24 hours after your biopsy.
- Call your doctor's office to schedule a follow-up appointment, usually
within two weeks of your biopsy.
- Notify your doctor immediately if you develop a fever or have redness or
drainage from the biopsy site.
Women must be their own best advocates and take responsibility for their
health. A good way to do that is by committing to routine screening exams
such as Pap smears and mammograms, as recommended by your doctor.
Click here for the Breast Biopsy Brochure
Call the Women's Health Imaging Center to schedule your appointment
for your mammogram, bone density test, ultrasound exam, breast biopsy
or automated whole breast volume scan (ABVS).