A breast biopsy is performed to evaluate suspicious breast tissue for the presence of cancer or other abnormalities. While discomfort and pain levels vary by patient, most report only mild to moderate discomfort.
The level of pain experienced during a breast biopsy depends on several factors, including the type of biopsy, the patient’s pain tolerance, and the skill of the healthcare professional performing the procedure.
What Are the Types of Breast Biopsies?
Types of breast biopsies include fine-needle aspiration, core needle biopsy, and surgical biopsy.
- In a fine-needle aspiration, a thin needle extracts fluid or cells from the breast. This procedure usually causes minimal discomfort, similar to a blood test or injection.
- A core needle biopsy involves the removal of a small sample of breast tissue using a slightly larger needle. Although you may feel some pressure and brief pain during the numbing injection and tissue sampling, the procedure is generally well-tolerated.
- If a needle biopsy does not provide a clear diagnosis, a surgical biopsy may be performed to remove a larger tissue sample. It is performed under local anesthesia, and any post-procedure discomfort is typically managed with medication.
How Is Discomfort or Pain Managed?
Health care providers often use local anesthesia to numb the area before the procedure to minimize discomfort during a breast biopsy. After the biopsy, mild pain or tenderness at the site is common, which can be relieved with over-the-counter pain medications.
It’s important to communicate any concerns or anxiety you may have with your healthcare provider before the biopsy. They can provide guidance, answer your questions, and help ensure your comfort during the procedure.