Breast Surgical Biopsy
(Biopsy, Breast Surgical; Breast Open Biopsy; Biopsy, Breast Open; Breast Needle Localization; Localization, Breast Needle)
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Breast surgical biopsy is when the doctor makes a cut in the breast to remove all or part of a mass. The mass is examined in a lab.
Reasons for Procedure
Breast surgical biopsy is done to examine a suspicious area in the breast. It may be done if any of the following are found:
The biopsy can identify the area as either benign (noncancerous) or malignant (cancerous).
Complications are rare, but no procedure is completely free of risk. If you are planning to have a breast surgical biopsy, your doctor will review a list of possible complications, which may include:
Some factors that may increase the risk of complications include:
Be sure to discuss these risks with your doctor before the procedure.
What to Expect
Prior to Procedure
Your doctor may do the following:
Leading up to the biopsy:
You may receive the following types of anesthesia:
Description of the Procedure
There are different ways the doctor can remove the mass from your breast:
Breast Open Biopsy
You will be given either general or local anesthesia. The skin over the area will be cleaned. A small cut will be made over the area. A sample of the tissue or all of the mass will be removed. The site will be closed with stitches or staples. A bandage will be applied.
This technique will be used if the mass is too deep to be felt, but it can be seen with imaging tests. After the mass is located, a fine wire will be placed into your breast. The wire will point to the spot that needs to be biopsied. A small cut will be made in the area and the mass will be removed.
How Long Will It Take?
Will It Hurt?
You may feel pain in your breast after the biopsy. Your doctor will prescribe pain medicine.
When you return home after the procedure, do the following to help ensure a smooth recovery:
It will take about 2-5 days to receive your test results.
Call Your Doctor
After arriving home, contact your doctor if any of the following occur:
In case of an emergency, call for medical help right away.
American Cancer Society
Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation
Canadian Cancer Society
Biopsy. The Breastcancer.org website. Available at: http://www.breastcancer.org/symptoms/testing/biopsy.jsp. Updated September 17, 2012. Accessed January 22, 2013.
Breast biopsy. The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center website. Available at: http://www.upmc.co.... Accessed January 22, 2013.
Pfenninger JL, Fowler GC. Procedures for Primary Care Physicians. St. Louis, MO: Mosby-Year Book; 1994.
Sabiston DC, Lyerly HK. Textbook of Surgery. 15th ed. Philadelphia, PA: WB Saunders Co.; 1997.
Last reviewed September 2012 by Mohei Abouzied, MD