What is an open breast biopsy?
An open breast biopsy is surgery to remove abnormal breast tissue. It's mostly done when the results of a needle biopsy are uncertain.
To show the location of the abnormal breast tissue, a small wire can be put in the area during a mammogram or ultrasound just before surgery. The wire will guide the doctor to the area to be checked.
The doctor makes a cut in the breast to remove part or all of the abnormal breast tissue. Once the tissue is removed, the doctor will close the cut with stitches.
The breast tissue will be sent to a lab. There it will be examined under a microscope to check for breast cancer. Your doctor may get some answers right away. But it can take up to 1 to 2 weeks to get the final results.
You will be able to go home on the same day as the biopsy. Most women are able to go back to work in 1 or 2 days. This depends on how you feel and the type of work you do. For 2 weeks after surgery, you will need to avoid bouncing and strenuous activities that involve the upper body.
The surgery will leave a scar on your breast that will fade with time. Less often, the surgery may leave a dent in the breast. You may be able to feel a hard area where the biopsy was done. This is a normal part of the healing process. It does not mean that the lump is growing back. The area will get softer in the weeks after surgery.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
How do you prepare for surgery?
Surgery can be stressful. This information will help you understand what you can expect. And it will help you safely prepare for surgery.
Preparing for surgery
- Be sure you have someone to take you home. Anesthesia and pain medicine will make it unsafe for you to drive or get home on your own.
- Understand exactly what surgery is planned, along with the risks, benefits, and other options.
- Tell your doctor ALL the medicines and natural health products you take. Some may increase the risk of problems during your surgery. Your doctor will tell you if you should stop taking any of them before the surgery and how soon to do it.
- If you take aspirin or some other blood thinner, ask your doctor if you should stop taking it before your surgery. Make sure that you understand exactly what your doctor wants you to do. These medicines increase the risk of bleeding.
- Make sure your doctor and the hospital have a copy of your advance care plan. If you don't have one, you may want to prepare one. It lets others know your health care wishes. It's a good thing to have before any type of surgery or procedure.
Where can you learn more?
Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd
Enter D839 in the search box to learn more about "Open Breast Biopsy: Before Your Surgery".