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    Ultrasound-Guided Core Breast Biopsy

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    What is an Ultrasound-Guided Core Breast Biopsy?

    An ultrasound-guided core breast biopsy is done to get a sample of breast tissue without surgery. A radiologist (specialized doctor) does the biopsy. The biopsy is painless for most women, although you may feel some pressure and slight discomfort. The biopsy takes 15-20 minutes. Plan to stay at the Breast Health Center for 1 ½ - 2 hours.

    IMPORTANT: Aspirin, Vitamin E, Advil (ibuprofen), Aleve (naproxen), and anticoagulants (blood-thinning medications) should be stopped at least 4 days before the biopsy. Please tell the Breast Health Center if you are taking any prescription anticoagulants.

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    On the Day of Your Procedure

    • You may eat and drink normally before the biopsy.


    • California Campus: Arrive 15 minutes early.
      Register in the lobby of 3698 California Street. Then, take the elevator up to the 2nd floor (Breast Health Center) and check in at the front desk.


    • St. Luke’s Campus: Arrive 30 minutes early.
      Register in the lobby of 3555 Cesar Chavez St. and then check in at the front desk.


    • You can come alone or bring family and/or friends. They can wait in the waiting room during the procedure.


    • Before the biopsy, you sign a consent form stating that you understand the procedure.

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    During Your Procedure

    1. You lie down on a soft, narrow bed.

    2. The radiologist uses an ultrasound machine to find the area in your breast to biopsy.

    3. The radiologist gives you a shot to numb the area.

    4. The radiologist takes several tissue samples. Sometimes, a tiny metallic marker is placed in the breast to mark the area sampled.

    5. Steri-Strips® (incision tapes) and antibiotic ointment may be applied at the site of the biopsy. The puncture site is covered with a bandage.

    6. After the biopsy, keep an ice pack next to your skin for about 20 minutes. Then, remove it for 10 minutes. Repeat for 1 to 3 hours, depending on how easily you bruise. Placing the ice pack within your bra is the easiest way to keep it in place.

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    After Your Procedure

    • You may drive home alone after the procedure.


    • You may return to work; however, it is best to go home after the procedure and rest.


    • Avoid any heavy lifting or physical labor.


    • Results will be available in 2-3 days after your biopsy. You will get the results from the Breast Health Center, the radiologist, or your doctor.

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    More Ways to Learn

    Note: This handout is also available in Spanish.


    Frequently Asked Questions

    Question: Will there be any discomfort?
    Answer: The biopsy is painless for most women, although you may feel some pressure and slight discomfort.

    Question: Can I drive home after this procedure?
    Answer: You may drive home alone after the biopsy.

    Question: When will I get my results?
    Answer: Your biopsy results will be ready in 2-3 days. You get the results from the Breast Health Center, the radiologist, or your doctor.


    Produced by the staff and physicians at California Pacific Medical Center in association with the Center for Patient and Community Education. Last updated: 10/13

    Funded by: A generous donation from the Mr. and Mrs. Arthur A. Ciocca Foundation.

    Note: This information is not meant to replace any information or personal medical advice which you get directly from your doctor(s). If you have any questions about this information, such as the risks or benefits of the treatment listed, please ask your doctor(s).

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