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Breast Health Center
668 Eddy Street
Providence, RI 02903
P: (401) 274-1122, ext. 47300
P: (401) 453-7540
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A core biopsy of the breast is the removal of small fragments of tissue with a special needle, using mammography and ultrasound as guides. The tissue is tested in the hospital's laboratory for cancer. Most core biopsies are performed when a mammogram or ultrasound shows an abnormality in the breast, not for something discovered in a physical or self-breast exam. Most of these abnormalities are benign.

What to Expect

Your breast core biopsy will be performed in Women & Infants' Department of Diagnostic Imaging. It is safe and relatively painless, with local anesthesia injected in the site before the biopsy. The needle is inserted through a tiny incision that will heal without needing a stitch.

The procedure generally lasts 45 minutes, although you will remain in the department for about two hours.

The results of the biopsy are available from your physician in five to seven days.

How to Prepare

Do not to take aspirin 36 hours before the procedure. Do not take NSAIDS (such as Advil, Ibuprofen, Aleve and Naproxen/Naprosyn) 24 hours before the procedure.

On the day of procedure:

  • Wear a two-piece outfit, such as a jogging suit or pants and shirt, and a well-fitting bra.
  • You may eat and/or drink liquids and take medications.
  • If you are using blood thinners, you will need laboratory tests before the biopsy.

Post Breast Biopsy Instructions

  • The dressing must stay in place for 24 to 48 hours. The steri-strips may stay in place for one day and may be replaced as needed.
  • An ice pack will be applied to the breast to relieve any swelling or bruising after the procedure. In preparation for your procedure, you may want to have an additional ice pack at home.
  • You may notice bruising in the area of the biopsy. This is normal and should fade in five to seven days.
  • For the first 24 hours, do not wash the area of the breast biopsy. Keep this area as dry as possible.
  • You may use Tylenol (two tablets) every four to six hours, as needed for discomfort.
  • After 24 hours, you may resume your regular activities if you feel okay. Avoid strenuous activity, such as swimming, until the wound heals.

There are two major things you should watch for after the procedure:

  • Bleeding: If bleeding occurs, it will normally develop within the first 24 hours. If you notice bleeding through the dressing, apply pressure for 20 minutes.
  • Infection: If infection occurs, it will normally not develop until 48 to 72 hours after the procedure. Watch for redness or heat around the incision, excessive swelling, tenderness and drainage.
If either condition exists, call the Breast Health Center at (401) 274-1122, ext. 47300 or your physician.