Click here to view an animated version of this procedure.
Breast surgical biopsy is surgery to remove all or part of a breast mass. A lab will check the sample to see if there is something unusual about it.
Breast surgical biopsy is done to look at a suspicious part of the breast. It can find out of the spot is cancerous or not.
It may be done if there is:
Problems are rare, but all procedures have some risk. The doctor will go over problems that could happen, such as::
Things that may raise the risk of problems are:
The doctor may meet with you to talk about:
The doctor may give:
There are a few ways the doctor can remove the mass:
A small incision will be made over the area. Part or all of the mass will be removed. The site will be closed with stitches or staples. It will be bandaged.
Open Breast Biopsy
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.
This method is used if the mass cannot be felt. Imaging is used to guide a fine wire to the breast through a needle. The wire will point to the spot that needs to be removed. A small cut will be made and the mass will be removed.
1 to 3 hours
There will be some discomfort after the procedure. Medicine will help.
Most can home the same day.
Right after the procedure, the staff may give you pain medicine.
During your stay, staff will take steps to control your risk of infection, such as:
There are also steps you can take to lower your risk of infection, such as:
Pain should go away in a week or so. Swelling may last for a few weeks or months. Some activities may be limited during this time.
It will take about 2 to 5 days to get test results.
Call your doctor if you are not getting better or you have:
American Cancer Society
Canadian Breast Cancer Network
Canadian Cancer Society
Breast biopsy. American Cancer Society website. Available at: https://www.cancer.org/cancer/breast-cancer/screening-tests-and-early-detection/breast-biopsy.html. Accessed September 21, 2021.
Breast cancer—health professional version. National Cancer Institute website. Available at: https://www.cancer.gov/types/breast/hp. Accessed September 21, 2021.
Breast cancer in women. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/breast-cancer-in-women. Accessed September 21, 2021.
Kalambo M, Dogan BE, et al. Step by step: Planning a needle localization procedure. Clin Imaging. 2020;60(1):100-108.
Last reviewed July 2021 by
EBSCO Medical Review Board
Mohei Abouzied, MD, FACP
Last Updated: 9/21/2021