Breast Excisional Biopsy - Taking Care of Yourself at Home
What is a breast excisional biopsy?
A breast excisional biopsy is a procedure where a surgeon numbs your breast with medication and makes an incision in your breast to remove a lump or piece of tissue. This procedure can be done in the office if it involves an area on or near the surface of the skin. This procedure may also be done in the operating room.
Care of the Incision
You will have a dressing over the biopsy site. Leave this dressing in place according to the doctor’s instructions, usually 24 – 48 hours. After removing your dressing, you do not need to place another dressing. However, gauze may be placed between your incision site and bra if this would be more comfortable for you.
You may shower if you have a plastic dressing over the site. After the dressing is removed, you may shower letting water run over the incision. Pat dry. Do not soak in the tub or swim until the incision is completely healed, usually 7-10 days.
A supportive bra worn after surgery will give the incision support and may decrease discomfort.
Look at the incision daily. If you notice any of the following signs of infection, call your doctor.
• Temperature over 100° F for 2 readings taken 4 hours apart
• Significant swelling, firmness, or increased warmth
• Increased redness
• Discharge from the incision, especially green or white pus-like discharge
Call if you have any heavy bleeding that soaks the dressing and flows out of the incision. It is normal to have some dried blood on the dressing.
Plan to rest after you go home. If you have received medicine to sedate you (make you sleepy) you should not drive, drink alcohol, or make any important personal decisions until the effects have worn off. Also, do not drink alcohol or drive if you are taking prescription pain pills. You may return to work the next day unless your job requires heavy physical labor. Ask your doctor if you have concerns about your activities.
For mild discomfort, you may find taking two Extra-Strength Tylenol® (acetaminophen) every six hours will give you relief. Do not take more than eight Extra-Strength Tylenol® in a 24-hour period. Do not take Tylenol® if you have liver problems. For more intense pain, a prescription for a narcotic pain medicine may be given to you.
Your biopsy results should be ready in 3-4 working days. Call your doctor for results.
You may feel a firm area over the biopsy site which will soften over time. The incision will look pink and the skin around it may look bruised for a few weeks. Some numbness may occur around the incision. Normal feeling will most likely return in a couple of months. If you find a new lump or notice other changes, please see your doctor promptly.
If you have any questions or concerns after you go home, please call the Breast Center at (608) 266-6400, Monday – Friday, 8:00 am to 5:00 pm. After hours, nights and weekends, please call (608) 262-0486. This will give you the paging operator. Ask for the doctor on call with Dr. ________________________. 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, please call: 1-800-323-8942.
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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: 06/04/2012
Copyright © 06/04/2012 University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#4279
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