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Surgical Breast Biopsy

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Surgical Breast Biopsy in Sadashiv Peth, Pune

A procedure wherein a small sample of breast tissue is removed using surgery, for laboratory testing, is known as a surgical breast biopsy. It is performed to examine a suspicious area in your breast and determine whether it is cancerous or benign.

Why is a surgical breast biopsy done?

A surgical breast biopsy is recommended when the results of a needle biopsy are not clear. It may be done:

  • To check a mass or lump in the breast, that can be felt
  • To evaluate nipple issues
  • To check if a breast lump is benign or cancerous
  • To check for problems such as a cyst or microcalcifications, as seen on a mammogram

Types of surgical breast biopsy

There are two types of surgical breast biopsy –

  • Incisional biopsy – In this type of surgical biopsy, the surgeon will remove only a part of the abnormal tissue or tumor.
  • Excisional biopsy – In this type of surgical biopsy, the surgeon will first make an incision in the skin and remove the abnormal tissue or tumor entirely.

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How to prepare for a breast biopsy?

  • Your doctor will explain the entire procedure to you. You would be awake during the surgery if local anesthesia is administered to numb the breast. However, if general anesthesia would be administered, then you would not be allowed to eat or drink anything for a few hours before the surgery. All the relevant instructions would be provided to you by your surgeon.
  • You should inform your doctor about any medications that you are taking, including over-the-counter and prescription medications as well as any supplements, herbs, or vitamins.
  • Inform your doctor about any allergies that you might have.
  • You should also inform them if you are pregnant.
  • Inform your doctor if you have a history of bleeding disorders or if you are on blood thinners, ibuprofen, aspirin, or any other medication that affects blood clotting as you might be required to stop taking these medications before the surgery.

How is a surgical breast biopsy done?

At first, patients are placed on the operating table and administered with local or general anesthesia. An intravenous (IV) line is placed in the patient’s arm to administer medicines throughout the procedure. If the area of calcification or breast mass is not palpable, then the surgeon will perform a process called wire or needle localization. In this procedure, a mammogram is performed first. The surgeon will insert a hollow needle into the breast. Using mammography or ultrasound, they will place the tip of the needle in the suspicious area. Then, the front end of a thin wire with a hook will be inserted on the end through the hollow needle and into the breast tissue alongside the suspicious area. The needle will be removed and the wire will serve as a guide for the surgeon to find the area of breast tissue that needs to be removed.

Now that the suspicious area has been identified, your surgeon will go on to make a small incision and remove either a portion of the breast mass or the entire breast mass. This removed tissue will then be sent to the laboratory to confirm breast cancer. If breast cancer is detected, then the margins of the mass would be evaluated to check for the presence of cancer cells. If the margins are clear, then cancer has been removed adequately otherwise further surgery would be scheduled so that more tissue can be removed.

What are the advantages of a surgical breast biopsy?

A surgical breast biopsy is an accurate method and the chances of false-negative results in this method are less.

What happens after a surgical breast biopsy?

After the surgery, you will be kept under observation for a few hours to make sure that you are recovering well and to look out for any complications. You might experience some swelling, bruising, or bleeding from the incision. Your doctor will give you specific instructions on how to care for the biopsy site. There may be a scar and the shape of your breast might be altered, depending on how much tissue has been removed. If you experience any pain at the incision site or develop a fever, you should contact your doctor immediately.

What are the risks associated with a surgical breast biopsy?

Typically, a surgical breast biopsy is a simple procedure. However, with every surgical procedure, there are some risks associated. Similarly, some risks of a surgical breast biopsy include:

  • Swelling of breast
  • Altered appearance of the breast
  • Bruising of breast
  • Infection at the biopsy site
  • Soreness at the biopsy site
  • These side effects are temporary and can be treated.


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