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Breast Biopsies

During a breast biopsy, tissue or cells are taken from inside a lump found in your breast. The sample is sent for examination in our Pathology Laboratory.

A number of different types of breast biopsy are available at the Hospital so one of the specialist Breast Surgeons and Consultants practising at our Breast Clinic will advise you on the most suitable option.

Fine Needle Aspiration (FNA)

An FNA removes fluid from a breast lump using a very thin needle or syringe.

Stereotactic breast biopsy

Under X-Ray guidance, a needle is inserted (under topical anaesthetic) to guide the removal of suspicious  breast tissue under a core needle or vacuum-assisted biopsy for the removal of breast tissue for testing. It is often used if a previous mammogram has shown any of the following symptoms:

  • Microcalcifications
  • New calcium deposits
  • Distortion of the breast tissue
  • Abnormal tissue changes

This procedure takes about 30 minutes under local anaesthetic.

What to expect afterwards

We’ll apply a small plaster or dressing before you go home. This can usually be removed the next day. Following a vacuum-assisted or core breast biopsy, steri-strips will seal the cut on the breast and will be covered with a dressing. The strips should be left on and kept dry for 3-4 days.

You may notice some aching, bruising or tenderness in your breast - this is more common if you’ve had a core breast biopsy. You might find that it helps to wear an unwired bra or sports bra for extra comfort. It’s okay to take mild painkillers such as paracetamol, as long as they do NOT contain any aspirin.


This page is intended for information purposes only and should not replace advice that your relevant health professional would give you.

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