How To Prepare & What To Expect From A Breast Biopsy

If you’ve never had to have a biopsy before, the procedure may sound an awful lot like actual surgery. You may be surprised to learn how quick, simple, and painless a biopsy truly is. Nowadays, biopsies are extremely efficient given the advancement of imaging technology.

Imaging devices such as ultrasounds and MRI’s allow doctors to easily direct the biopsy needle toward the organ or structure in question without struggle. Biopsies are minimally invasive, minimally scarring, and many do not require incisions.

If your doctor has directed you to undergo a breast biopsy and you’re a little nervous about the procedure, don’t feel bad! We’re here to prepare you and inform you. Here is everything you need to know in order to prepare for a breast biopsy, as well as what to expect from the procedure.

What Is A Breast Biopsy?

A breast biopsy is usually recommended to test suspicious or abnormal structures within the breast that could be malignant. During a biopsy of the breast your doctor will remove tissue from the suspicious area, which will then be analyzed in a lab for any cancer cells.

How Are Breast Biopsies Done?

The sample collection process (the nerve-wracking part) usually involves a fine needle or a core. Fine needles used in FNA breast biopsies are thin, hollow, and usually do not require anesthesia, as the anesthesia needle would actually hurt more than the thin needle used in the biopsy.

A core needle is a larger needle used to sample breast changes felt by the doctor or seen on an imaging device. Core breast biopsies may require local anesthesia or conscious sedation through an IV.

How To Prepare For A Breast Biopsy

Depending on the procedure, what you will need to do in order to prepare may be different or the same from the suggestions below. Be sure to ask your doctor what steps you should take in order to be ready for your biopsy procedure.

  • Follow any instructions given by the doctor

  • May need to fast for up to 8 hours

  • May need to suspend blood clotting or blood thinning medication

  • Wear loose clothing and bring a sports bra to wear after the procedure

  • Have a designated driver to take you home

What To Expect During A Breast Biopsy

There are different kinds of breast biopsies, and the one you will undergo will be determined by several factors, such as:

  • How suspicious the breast change looks

  • How big it is

  • Where it is in the breast

  • If there is more than one

  • Other medical problems you might have

  • Your personal preferences

At Rosetta Radiology we offer three different kinds of breast biopsies: FNA Breast Biopsy, Ultrasound Guided Core Breast Biopsy, and MRI Breast Biopsy. The option your doctor selects for you will determine many specific things, such as how you’ll be laying down, or how long the procedure will take. Some things that usually remain the same for outpatient image-guided biopsies are:

  • Changing into designated gown

  • Conscious sedation through IV, except for FNA breast biopsies.

  • Anesthesia, either local or general through IV.

  • Recovery time up to 4 hours

What To Expect After A Breast Biopsy

Although you will probably be able to drive home on your own, you may feel more comfortable with having someone else take you home. With these procedures you will go home with some bandages and an ice pack over the biopsy site.

You can expect to see some bruising over the area where the biopsy was performed. This is normal and will go away on its own. If you experience any pain or discomfort, you can take any non-aspirin pain reliever containing acetaminophen, and apply a cold pack as needed to reduce swelling.

If you have any further questions about undergoing a breast biopsy or if you are still nervous about your upcoming procedure, just book a consultation today to speak to one of our physicians.

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