Breast Lumps and Biopsies

You may have discovered a breast lump and that is, of course, worrisome. MSA recommends that all breast lumps be checked out—so if you have not contacted your primary physician or gynecologist, we urge you to do so right away.

Breast lumps are very common—many women do experience them at some time in their life. And, most of them are benign (not cancerous or life-threatening). However, some lumps can be cancerous (malignant), and early detection and treatment are the best chance for successful recovery.

There are several types of tests which can be done to identify the type and cause of a lump. The most common are:

  • Fine Needle Aspiration in which a thin needle is inserted into the lump to sample fluid. This is often done right in your doctor’s office.
  • Core Needle Biopsy which is also taken through the skin but provides a larger sampling of the cells in the lump. This requires a local anesthetic but may also be done in your doctor’s office.
  • An Image-Guided Biopsy may be needed if a lump or mass requires either computer mapping or ultrasound aid in locating it. Tissue samples are taken by either core needle or a vacuum-assisted probe. These procedures are performed where the necessary equipment is available such as a hospital or surgery center.
  • Surgical Biopsy—your physician may have referred you here to MSA for this procedure, because we are specialists who perform this type of biopsy which allows for a larger tissue sample to be taken. We can perform this procedure at either a hospital or surgery center.

Preparing for a Surgical Biopsy

First, you’ll meet with your MSA doctor so that you will know who is performing the surgery and all of your questions about it can be answered.

At that meeting, you will also receive detailed instructions to prepare yourself for the procedure, including specific restrictions on medications or supplements that you usually take.

If not previously done so, you will schedule your surgery and discuss the arrangements to be made for someone—preferably an adult—to drive you home after you have the procedure. As you will be sedated during the procedure, it will not be safe for you to drive yourself.

About the Procedure

  • You will be given a sedative administered intravenously and be in a light sleep during the surgery.
  • Most likely, your surgeon will make a single incision, remove the entire the lump or mass and then close the incision with stitches.
  • While you will need assistance to go home, you will probably experience only mild discomfort.
  • Your surgeon will prescribe pain medication if necessary and give you instructions for relieving soreness and swelling as well as advice on resuming your daily activities including bathing.

Getting the Results of Your Biopsy

As with all types of biopsies, the removed tissue is sent to a laboratory for examination and analysis. Your physician will be informed of the results of the analysis, and he or she will discuss those results with you.

Call us immediately at (970) 249-4321 if you experience any of the following after a surgical biopsy:

  • Fever over 101 degrees F.
  • Increasing redness, pain at the site of the incision.
  • Pus draining or a feeling of warmth/heat at the site of the incision.
  • If bleeding is soaking through the dressing.
  • Bloody drainage or severe swelling that doesn’t seem to be subsiding within a couple of days.

For more information online about breast health and problems, visit the following websites: