An infection at the biopsy site. An infection can be treated
Bleeding from the biopsy
Not getting a sample of the abnormal tissue.
Dizziness and fainting.
Call your doctor immediately if:
Your pain lasts longer than a
You have redness, a lot of swelling, bleeding, or pus from
the biopsy site.
You have a fever.
Core needle and stereotactic breast biopsies may leave a
small round scar. Open biopsies leave a small straight line scar. The scar
fades over time. A fine-needle biopsy usually does not leave a scar.
biopsy removes a sample of breast tissue that is
looked at under a microscope for
No abnormal or cancer cells
Breast changes that are not cancer (benign) include:
Calcium deposits in the breast.
Cysts, which are lumps filled with fluid.
Enlarged breast lobules (adenosis), which are small round lumps that sometimes can be felt.
Fat necrosis, which are round, firm lumps formed by damaged fatty tissue.
Fibrocystic lumps and firm tumors (fibroadenomas).
Breast changes that are not cancer but may increase your risk for cancer include:
Abnormal cells in the breast ducts (atypical ductal hyperplasia or ADH).
Abnormal cells in the breast lobules (atypical lobular hyperplasia or ALH).
Many abnormal cells in the breast lobules (lobular carcinoma in situ or LCIS).
Cancer cells are
What Affects the Test
A needle biopsy takes tissue
from a small area, so there is a chance that a cancer may be missed.
What To Think About
Most breast lumps are not cancer. But the chance of having a
cancerous breast lump is higher after menopause than before menopause.
Some lumpiness of
breast tissue is normal. The fibrous tissue in the breast often feels lumpy or
bumpy, especially before your menstrual period. This lumpiness (fibrocystic
change) is so common in women that doctors now think it is a normal change.
These changes usually go away after
menopause, but they also may be found in women who are
hormone therapy following menopause.
Burstein HJ, et al. (2011). Malignant tumors of the breast. In VT DeVita Jr et al., eds., DeVita, Hellman and Rosenberg's Cancer: Principles and Practice of Oncology, 9th ed., vol. 3, pp. 1401–1446. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.
Chernecky CC, Berger BJ (2008). Laboratory Tests and Diagnostic Procedures, 5th ed. St. Louis: Saunders.
Fischbach FT, Dunning MB III, eds. (2009). Manual of Laboratory and Diagnostic Tests, 8th ed. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.