Instructions for After Your Image-Guided Breast Biopsy

This information will help you care for your biopsy site after your ultrasound, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), or stereotactic breast biopsy.

Caring for Your Biopsy Site

  • Keep your biopsy site covered with a bandage for today.

  • Leave the small strips of paper tape (Steri-Strips®) on your biopsy site. If they have not fallen off in 3 days, remove them.

  • You may shower 24 hours after your biopsy.  Clean your biopsy site with soap and water, letting the shower water run over your biopsy site. Gently pat it dry with a clean towel.  You don’t need to put another bandage on your biopsy site after you shower. However, if there is any drainage from your biopsy site, place a clean Band-Aid® over it.

  • Swelling and bruising are common after a breast biopsy.  Applying an ice pack may help. Any bruises and swelling should go away on their own in about a week.

  • If you have any bleeding from your biopsy site, apply steady pressure. If the bleeding becomes heavy or doesn’t stop, call your doctor.

  • Wearing a tight-fitting bra after your biopsy will support your biopsy site, which might make you more comfortable. Your radiologist will give you instructions if you need to wear any special type of bra after your biopsy.

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  • If you have pain after your biopsy, take acetaminophen (Tylenol®) as directed. Try to avoid taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for pain. You can find more information about these medications in the information sheet called Common Medications Containing Aspirin and Other Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs).

  • If you take medications to thin your blood (such as aspirin or other anticoagulants), you can take them after your procedure on the same day, as long as you are not having any significant bleeding. Talk with your doctor if you have any questions.

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Additional Instructions

  • For 3 days after your biopsy, do not:

    • Lift anything heavier than 5 pounds with the arm on the biopsy side.

    • Do any strenuous exercises, such as running or jogging.

    • Bathe, swim, or soak the biopsy site under water.

  • Your radiologist will give you a card with his or her phone number. Call your radiologist if:

    • Your breast is getting larger.

    • You have increased breast tenderness.

    • You have bleeding that you are worried about.

    • You have any questions.

  • ​You should receive your biopsy results within 3 to 5 business days of your procedure.

If you have questions after 5:00 pm, during the weekend, or on a holiday, please call 212-639-2000 and ask for the Radiology Body fellow on call.

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