Breast Excisional Biopsy
Taking Care of Yourself at Home
What is a breast excisional biopsy?
A breast excisional biopsy is a procedure where a surgeon numbs your breast with medicine and
makes an incision in your breast to remove a lump or piece of tissue. This procedure can be
done in the office if it involves an area on or near the surface of the skin. This procedure may
also be done in the operating room.
Care of the Incision
You will have a dressing over the biopsy site. Leave this dressing in place according to the
doctor’s instructions, usually 24 – 48 hours. After removing your dressing, you do not need to
place another dressing. However, gauze may be placed between your incision site and bra if this
would be more comfortable for you.
You may shower if you have a plastic dressing over the site. After the dressing is removed, you
may shower letting water run over the incision. Pat dry. Do not soak in the tub or swim until the
incision is completely healed, usually 7-10 days.
A supportive bra worn after surgery will give the incision support and may decrease discomfort.
Look at the incision daily. If you notice any of these signs of infection, call your doctor:
ξ Temperature over 100 θ F for 2 readings taken 4 hours apart
ξ Significant swelling, firmness, or increased warmth
ξ Increased redness
ξ Discharge from the incision, especially green or white pus-like discharge
Call if you have any heavy bleeding that soaks the dressing and flows out of the incision. It is
normal to have some dried blood on the dressing.
Plan to rest after you go home. If you have received medicine to sedate you (make you sleepy)
you should not drive, drink alcohol, or make any important personal decisions until the effects
have worn off. Also, do not drink alcohol or drive if you are taking prescription pain pills. You
may return to work the next day unless your job requires heavy physical labor. Ask your doctor
if you have concerns about your activities.
For mild discomfort, you may find taking two Extra-Strength Tylenol (acetaminophen) every
six hours will give you relief. Do not take more than eight Extra-Strength Tylenol in a 24-hour
period. Do not take Tylenol if you have liver problems. For more intense pain, a prescription
for a narcotic pain medicine may be given to you.
Your biopsy results should be ready in 3-4 working days. Call your doctor for results.
You may feel a firm area over the biopsy site which will soften over time. The incision will look
pink and the skin around it may look bruised for a few weeks. Some numbness may occur
around the incision. Normal feeling will most likely return in a couple of months. If you find a
new lump or notice other changes, please see your doctor promptly.
Important Phone Numbers:
To reach your doctor, call one of these numbers Monday-Friday, 8:00 am to 5:00 pm:
ξ UW Health Breast Center at UW Hospital (608) 266-6400
ξ UW Health Surgery Clinic at 1 South Park St. (608) 287-2100
ξ UW Hospital Emergency Room (608) 262-2398
ξ Meriter Hospital Emergency Room (608) 417-6206
ξ Or your local Emergency Room
ξ UW Health Breast Center at UW Hospital-Call UW Hospital Paging Operator at
(608) 262-0486 and ask for the surgery resident on call. Give your name and phone
number with area code. The doctor will call you back.
ξ UW Health Surgery Clinic at 1 South Park St.-Call (608) 287-2100 and the answering
service will contact the doctor on call. Give your name and phone number with area
code. The doctor will call you back.
The Spanish Version of this Health Facts for You is #5987
Your health care team may have given you this information as part of your care. If so, please use it and call if you
have any questions. If this information was not given to you as part of your care, please check with your doctor. This
is not medical advice. This is not to be used for diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Because each
person’s health needs are different, you should talk with your doctor or others on your health care team when using
this information. If you have an emergency, please call 911. Copyright © 11/2015 University of Wisconsin Hospitals
and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#4279