Breast Biopsy Preparation

A biopsy is a small amount of tissue removed from the breast to be studied under a microscope. There are different ways to perform a breast biopsy; the one your doctor recommends will depend on the size, location and characteristics of the lump in your breast under investigation. This page contains tips and resources on how to prepare for a breast biopsy, as well as links to pages containing more specific information and videos on the different types of breast biopsies we perform at UCSF Radiology.

Patient Safety Tips Prior to a Breast Biopsy

​Please let us know if you have any allergies or adverse reactions to medications.

  • If you are pregnant or may be pregnant, please tell your doctor or technologist.
  • Please let us know if you need interpreting services, this can be arranged for you.
  • Please bring a list of your current medications with you.  If you are taking blood-thinning medications, such as Plavix, Coumadin, or Aspirin, contact your doctor to discuss stopping these medications.

How to Prepare For Your Breast Biopsy

  • You may eat on the day of the test. Medications may be taken with a sip of water.
  • Wash your breasts and underarms thoroughly with soap and water. Do not wear deodorant.
  • Wear or bring a tight-fitting brassiere (eg. sports bra).The technologist will verify your identification and exam requested.
  • There will be an opportunity for you to talk to the radiologist about the plan for the procedure and give your consent.

During the Procedure

  • Be prepared to spend about two hours in the radiology department. The biopsy itself will be far shorter.
  • The technologist will position you on the exam table.
  • The technologist and radiologist will be available to answer any questions.

After the Procedure

  • We will put pressure and a bandage on the biopsy site, which you will keep on until bedtime.
  • If you need medication for discomfort, take Tylenol; do not take Aspirin or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as Naprosyn, Advil, Ibuprofen
  • The radiologist will review post-biopsy instructions  with you, and give you a copy of the instructions in writing to take home with you.
  • The results of the biopsy will be ready for your doctor, usually within 3-5 working days from the time of your biopsy. Your doctor will relay the biopsy results to you. In the rare case where you have not been called with the biopsy results by the fifth working day after the biopsy, call your doctor’s office for results and recommendations.

Related Content