Living Healthy: Answering Your Questions About Breast Biopsies

Answering Your Top Questions on Biopsies

It is important to schedule regular mammograms in order to ensure good breast health. If there are any abnormalities in a mammogram, a doctor would recommend a breast biopsy to make sure that everything is normal. Jane Clauss talks to Dr. Sarah Friedewald from Northwestern Medicine about the importance of breast biopsies and how they work.


Why would I need a breast biopsy?

Mammograms are very important to breast health and can lead to the need for a breast biopsy. Doctors usually recommend a patient a biopsy after finding an abnormality that is shown on a mammogram, ultrasound, or MRI. It doesn’t always mean that something is wrong, but it makes sure that there is no cancer or precancerous cells. The results of a biopsy can find benign cells, meaning there is no cancer, malignant cells which are cancerous, or atypia cells which are abnormal and could need surgery to make sure it isn’t cancerous.

Breast imaging, Dr. Sarah Friedewald, Questions on Breast Biopsies, JaneClauss.com

How should I prepare for a biopsy?

Most breast biopsies are pretty noninvasive and most women tolerate them well. There are no restrictions for eating anything before the procedure and you don’t have to prepare with medication before. Patients should be prepared to receive a local anesthetic to numb the area around where the biopsy is. The radiologist or surgeon uses a thin, hollow needle to take small pieces of tissue from the area being looked at. The results should come back in about two to three days after the procedure.

Breast biopsy imaging, Questions on Breast Biopsies, JaneClauss.com

Does the procedure require down time or do I jump back into daily life?

A breast biopsy isn’t super physically taxing but can be mentally taxing. It can be good to take a day off after in order to relax. Most patients are anxious coming in and are nervous about finding out the results so taking a day or so to rest can be important. It is important not to do any heavy lifting after a breast biopsy in order to prevent any further bleeding.


Why do they insert little pins after a breast biopsy?

Biopsy clips or markers are very small and need a magnifying glass to be seen. The radiologist inserts a small pin into the biopsy area so that if a surgery is done the surgeon can see the area that was looked at with the biopsy. It also allows for radiologists to see the area that was looked at with a biopsy before so they can keep an eye on it for future mammograms.


Breast health is very important to living a healthier life and it is vital to keep up on regular yearly mammograms.

Jane is a trusted voice when it comes to health, wellness, medicine, and fitness. As the long-time host of Living Healthy TV she’s interviewed the best experts in the world of health and wellness to bring the story to you.

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