A biopsy is a procedure where sample tissue from the target site is removed from your body for examination. When it comes to a breast biopsy, tissue from suspicious lumps in the breast will be removed to find out the root cause of it, and if the lump is benign or cancerous.
Advanced screenings like mammograms and breast ultrasounds are useful ways to find breast lumps, but only a breast biopsy can confirm whether the growth is cancerous or not.
If you have any of the following symptoms, you should see a doctor who will be able to advise you on the most suitable type of breast screening:
As with any surgery, inform your doctor of any allergies you may have and divulge all recent illnesses or medical conditions.
Your doctor will likely provide you with a wound dressing and/or ice pack to reduce the bruising and swelling in your breast as you leave the hospital.
You may be put under anaesthesia. If so, it will not be safe for you to drive when you wake up, so have a relative or friend pick you up after the surgery.
Breast biopsies are usually done on an outpatient basis where you can return home after the procedure is completed.
There are several different kinds of breast biopsy procedures. Your doctor will recommend the procedure that best suits the size, location and other characteristics of the breast abnormality.
Types of breast biopsy include:
Breast biopsies are regarded as low-risk day surgeries, but as it is invasive, one can expect mild discomfort, bruising and swelling around the incision area. Post-surgical infection is a rare complication which can be minimised if you follow your doctor's instructions.
You may feel soreness at the site of the biopsy for a few days. Aftercare instructions vary. Generally, the bandage may be removed one day after the procedure, and you may shower and dress yourself normally.
The collected breast tissue will be sent for analysis in a laboratory. A pathologist will examine the biopsy tissue under a microscope and will provide your doctor with an analysis report. This process usually takes a few days. Ask your doctor how you will receive your results as the process varies from clinic to clinic.
A benign result usually means that you don't have much to worry about, and the lump may go away on its own. If cancer is detected, the biopsy findings will also show what type of cancer it is. Your doctor will then use all the information from the biopsy to assist you with a treatment plan.
If you have signs and symptoms that worry you, start by speaking to your doctor.
Mount Elizabeth Hospitals offer a one-stop solution for all your breast screening, assessment and diagnostic needs at the Mount Elizabeth Breast Care Centre.
Our dedicated team of surgeons, radiologists, nurses and allied health professionals work closely to provide comprehensive and personalised care to support you through your breast health journey.