Breast: open biopsy

Breast: open biopsy

Breast: open biopsy

Alternative Names: Open biopsy, Lumpectomy

In an open biopsy, or lumpectomy, a sample of breast tissue is removed to determine whether a breast lump is cancerous or non-cancerous (benign). The test may be performed using local or general anaesthetic. All or part of the lump is removed and sent to a laboratory for analysis, the results of which can take a day or two. Sometimes a small sample is analysed immediately so that the doctor knows whether to perform further procedures, such as a mastectomy (removal of the breast). There is a small risk of excessive bleeding, and an even smaller risk of infection, at the place where the cut was made. Early detection and treatment of cancerous lumps make a great difference to the survival rate. Most breast lumps, however, are benign.

What is it?
Breast biopsy (open) is a procedure where a sample of breast tissue is removed for analysis.

It may be done in your doctor’s rooms, a clinic, or in hospital. It usually takes less than an hour.

Why is it done?
Breast biopsy is done when a lump is noted (on self examination, doctor’s examination, or mammogram) and you need to know if it is benign (non-cancerous) or if it is breast cancer.

What happens?

Before – how to prepare
You will need to sign a consent form. If a general anaesthetic is planned, you will need to eat and drink nothing (nil per mouth) for 12 hours before the procedure.

During – how the test is done
This procedure may be done using local (injected under the skin) or general anaesthetic (where you are unconscious), depending on the size of the lump, your general health, and your choice.

You will undress and the skin over the breast lump will be thoroughly cleaned. The skin over the lump is cut and the doctor will remove all or part of the lump.

In some cases, a small sample is immediately analysed, in theatre or nearby, so that the doctor knows whether or not to proceed with a wider excision or even a mastectomy – these options would be fully discussed with you before the procedure.

The skin is then sutured (stitched) closed and a dressing is applied.

After the test
If you have had a general anaesthetic, you will be drowsy for several hours and will stay in the clinic or hospital for this time. You will not be able to drive home (you need to arrange for somebody to collect you).

You will have a simple dressing, which should stay in place for a few days. The results may take 24-48 hours to become available.

Risks and Compilations
There is a small risk of excessive bleeding and an even smaller risk of infection, at the biopsy site.

Special Issues
Most breast lumps are benign. Even if the biopsy reveals cancer, it is very important to realise that early treatment makes a significant difference to the outcome/survival rate.

Short Description
In an open biopsy, or lumpectomy, a sample of breast tissue is removed to determine whether a breast lump is cancerous or non-cancerous (benign).

Keywords
open biopsy, lumpectomy



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