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    Learning About Your Health

    After a Needle Breast Biopsy

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    After Your Biopsy

    • Rest during the day after your test.


    • You may have mild discomfort or bruising after the test.


    • Take acetaminophen (Tylenol®) for discomfort. Do not use aspirin or any other over-the-counter medicine that has aspirin in it.


    • Place an ice pack on your breast to help with bruising and discomfort. Leave the ice pack on for 20 minutes, then remove the ice pack and place it in the freezer for 10 minutes. You may repeat these steps for up to three hours after the test.


    • You may shower the morning after your test.


    • After showering, gently dry the biopsy area. Place a small amount of antibiotic ointment over the area and then cover it with a clean bandage.


    • Leave on the Steri-Strips® (incision tapes) until they fall off.


    • If you are not showering, place a small amount of antibiotic ointment over the Steri-Strips®, and cover with a clean bandage every day for 3 days.


    • Do not do strenuous activities, such as housework or exercise, for 24 hours after the test.


    • Do not swim or use hot tubs for one week.

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    Symptoms to Notice At Home

    • If you have bleeding at the biopsy site, lie down, remove the bandage, put three fingers on the biopsy site and apply pressure for 10 minutes. Use a clock to time yourself. Call us if the bleeding does not stop after you apply pressure for 10 minutes.


    • Infection is extremely rare. Check the biopsy area when you apply your antibiotic ointment. Call us if you notice an increase in swelling, redness or pus (yellow drainage), if you have pain, or if you feel warm or chilled and you have a temperature of 101°F / 38.3°C or above.


    • A rare complication called a hematoma may occur after a needle biopsy. This is clotted blood that temporarily builds up at the site of the biopsy. A hematoma will feel like a firm thickening in the biopsied area of the breast. Call us if you notice a tender thickening at the site of the biopsy.
    If you have questions or problems: Call the Breast Health Center Nurse at (415) 600-6281 or (415) 600-1914, or the Breast Health Center staff at (415) 600-6420.

    Note: After business hours and on weekends, go to the Emergency Room.

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    Your Biopsy Results

    Early results will be ready 2-3 days after your test. You get the results from the Breast Health Center Nurse, the Radiologist, or your referring doctor.

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    More Ways to Learn

    Note: This handout is also available in Chinese, Russian, and Spanish.


    Frequently Asked Questions

    Question: Will I have any discomfort after my biopsy?
    Answer: You may feel mild discomfort and bruising in the area that was tested.

    Question: When can I take a shower?
    Answer: You may shower the morning after your biopsy.

    Question: What symptoms should I pay attention to at home?
    Answer: 1) Bleeding – some women have bleeding at the biopsy site. Call us if the bleeding does not stop after you apply pressure for 10 minutes. 2) Infection – this is extremely rare. Call us if you notice an increase in swelling, redness, or pus (yellow drainage), or if you feel warm or chilled and have a temperature of 101°F / 38.3°C or above. 3) Hematoma – this is a rare complication that may occur after a biopsy. Call us if you notice a tender, firm thickening at the site of the biopsy.

    Question: When will I get the results?
    Answer: Early results will be ready 2-3 days after your test.


    Produced by the Center for Patient and Community Education in association with the Breast Health Center at California Pacific Medical Center. Last updated: 8/08


    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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