Ultrasound Breast Core Biopsy
Based on the results of your breast ultrasound, a doctor (radiologist) has recommended a Breast Ultrasound Core Biopsy. Breast tissue samples will be removed with a core needle. The ultrasound is used to guide the needle to the location of concern.
Before the Biopsy
A Breast Center nurse will review all prescribed and over-the-counter medicines. You will need to stop any blood thinners 5 days before the biopsy. These include:
• Aspirin (Ecotrin®, Excedrin®, Alka-Seltzer®, Anacin®, etc.)
• Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (Advil®, Motrin®, Ibuprofen, Aleve®, Nuprin®, Naproxen, Naprosyn®, Etodolac, Indomethacin, Diclofenac (Voltaren) Nambumetone (Relafen) etc.)
• Vitamin E, Omega 3 Oils such as Fish or Flaxseed; Ginger, Ginkgo Biloba, Ginseng, and all herbal medicines or teas
• Warfarin or Coumadin® Enoxaparin (Lovenox) or Clopidogrel (Plavix). We will work with your doctor to stop these.
You may take Tylenol as needed during this time (if you do not have liver disease).
A nurse will review all allergies. This includes all medicines, latex, metal, and tape.
You will remain awake for the biopsy. If you would like a relaxant to calm you for the biopsy the nurse will contact your primary doctor for this. This must be arranged in advance as the Breast Center does not provide these medicines. If you decide to take a relaxant, you must have someone drive you home after the biopsy. You should not drive or make important decisons until the next day.
Please eat and drink as normal. There is no need for you to fast before the biopsy. If you are diabetic, follow your regular diabetic care regimen..
Wear a two-piece outfit. You will be asked to undress from the waist up.
Do not wear talcum powder, lotions or deodorant on the breast and underarm area.
Plan on being at the Breast Center for about 1-1/2 hours.
During the Biopsy
You will lie on your back on the exam table. You will remain awake for the exam. Gel will be placed on your breast and the area of concern will be located using ultrasound. A picture of this area will be shown on the computer.
Your breast will be cleaned with an antiseptic that may feel cool on your skin.
The doctor will inject a numbing medicine (lidocaine) into your breast. You will feel a sting, but our goal is that you not feel any pain after this is given. You may feel pressure during the procedure. If you feel pain, let the staff know so that we can help minimize any discomfort.
The doctor will then use ultrasound to guide the biopsy needle to the correct area. A small nick will be made in the skin of your breast in order to place the needle into your breast. The doctor will insert the needle using the ultrasound computer image as a guide and ensure that a tissue sample is taken from the correct area.
When the biopsy is ready to be taken, the doctor will press a button at the end of the needle. You will hear a clicking or whirring sound during which a piece of tissue is removed. The doctor may need to obtain 4-5 more samples. The samples will be sent to pathology to be examined under a microscope.
After the biopsy, a small titanium marker will be placed in the breast to mark the area of the biopsy. It will be seen on future mammograms. There are no known risks with having the marker. You do not need to worry about metal detectors or MRI procedures, as titanium is not affected by this type of equipment.
The needle will be removed from your breast after all of the biopsies and markers have been placed. There may be slight bleeding. Pressure will be applied to the site to stop any bleeding. The site will be covered with thin strips of tape (Steri-Strips), followed by application of an ice pack for about ten minutes.
A final mammogram will be performed to ensure the biopsy went as planned.
Care After the Biopsy
You will meet with a nurse after the biopsy. The nurse will assess the biopsy site for any bleeding and place a protective bandage over the biopsy site.
Your pathology results will be available in 3-4 working days. Your doctor’s office or the Breast Center staff will call you with your results.
For the first 24 hours avoid vigorous arm movements and heavy lifting (more than 10 pounds). If you wish, you may return to work and most activities the next day.
Apply ice to the biopsy area for 20-30 minutes at least 3 times the day of the biopsy and then as needed. This will help to reduce swelling and pain. Do not place ice directly on the skin.
Remove the protective bandage the next day. The Steri-Strips will loosen and come off on their own in about 7 days. If they are still in place after 7 days you may gently remove them.
It is recommended you wear a comfortable supportive bra to minimize breast movement. A sports bra works best.
You may shower the next day allowing water to run over the biopsy site. Pat this area dry. Do not soak in a tub or pool for 48 hours.
You may have some mild discomfort and bruising. This should go away in about a week. If you need something for discomfort, Tylenol will often manage this pain. Take as directed. You may take Ibuprofen as needed 24 hours after the biopsy and if there is no signs of bleeding.
Monitor for any signs of infection such as a temperature over 100.4°F, significant swelling, firmness or warmth, increased redness or drainage around the site that is pus-like.
Please call if you are having heavy bleeding from the biopsy site ) bleeding that soaks the bandage or that is flowing from the site). Hold firm pressure to the site if this occurs. It is normal to have a small amount of blood (dime to quarter size) show through on the bandage.
If you have questions or concerns, please call:
Breast Center Triage Nurse Line (608) 262-1368 Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.; this line is checked frequently; or the Breast Center (608) 266-6400 and ask to speak to a nurse. For medical emergencies, call 911.
After hours and weekends, call (608) 262-2122. This will give you the paging operator. Ask to speak to the radiologist on call. Give the operator your name and phone number with the area code. The doctor will call you back.
If you live out of the area, call 1-800-323-8942.
The Spanish version of this Health Facts for You is #5991.
The information provided should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
Last Updated: 12/10/2012
Copyright © 10/20/2011 University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#5903
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