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After Your Breast Has Been Biopsied. . .


Stereotactic biopsy: If you have undergone a stereotactic biopsy through a small incision (4 mm), then this was most likely done under straight local anesthesia. This is important because you can drive yourself home if need be and stay by yourself. After the biopsy you should use an ice pack during the first 24 hours (frozen peas in a plastic bag are good) to reduce inflammation. The pathology usually takes 24 hours since there is too little tissue to perform a frozen section. Call your surgeon for swelling, increasing tenderness and redness. You can sometimes get a hematoma from bleeding deep inside the breast.


Open biopsy: The surgeon may or may not have a frozen section performed and hence you may or not know about the pathology. After you are driven home from the surgical facility, you should rest for the remainder of the day. Do not drive or operate equipment for 24 hours after you anesthetic. When you first go out to drive, make sure that you feel in control before you engage the starter.

You may be nauseated after the biopsy. Some of this nausea may be related to the drugs that were given to you as a part of your anesthetic and some of the nausea may be related to anxiety over the outcome of the biopsy. Pain medications that are related to opiates (codeine, morphine, oxycodone, hydrocodone) can cause nausea. You may want to limit you food intake on that day to soups and light solids. Resume your normal diet on the following day.

Your incision is covered by a bandage that may be removed after 24 hours. There are steristrips that are applied to the incision and these should be allowed to remain for about 12 weeks. The incision is closed with absorbable suture material (will dissolve in 4-6 weeks). You may shower and get this wet in 24 hours. If you have a drain in place, you should take a sponge bath but not get the drain site wet. If you have a drain in place, you should have instructions to measure the amount of output that is recorded in the bulb. Occasionally, the steristrips will produce a "traction" blister to the skin around the incision. This is due to postoperative swelling of the incision area and you may notice a "blood blister" If you see this, don't pot it but apply Neosporin cream to this site. (do you know the difference between cream and ointment?)


After your biopsy, you may still feel a lump present. This is the blood and serum that collect in the biopsy cavity. You may notice bruising that appears in the area around the biopsy site as well as down in the breast. This is not unusual and should not cause alarm. If your breast swells and is increasingly painful, then you should contact your surgeon. If you develop redness about the biopsy site particularly if the site is more tender, you should contact your surgeon. If you have a temperature of 101 F or higher orally, you should contact your surgeon. Generally ,the incision will be sore for several days. Even months after it heals you may experience occasional sharp shooting pains in the breast that last momentarily. However, any redness (particularly if the surrounding skin blanches and becomes white when compressed) develops in the biopsy area, you should contact your surgeon. After open biopsy you may want to wear a sports bra when doing physical activities. The movement of the breast with exercise may cause significant discomfort if there is inadequate support.


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