How Painful is a Breast Biopsy

There are several types of biopsies. Regarding breast biopsies, in most cases patients do not experience pain. Read more in the article below.

Breast biopsy is a diagnostic procedure, the essence of which is to take small fragments of tissue to detect malignant tumors at an early stage of development. The biopsy is sent to a laboratory for detailed examination. This method is the only effective way to rule out or confirm the presence of breast cancer with a high degree of probability.

How Painful is a Breast Biopsy

Indications for the procedure

A breast biopsy is performed if there are such indications as:

  • The presence of lumps in the breast;
  • Changes in the shape of the breast or nipple;
  • Changes in the color of the skin of the mammary glands, the appearance of areas of peeling or ulceration;
  • Abnormal discharge from the nipple.

Pathological areas found on ultrasound, mammography or MRI are also indications for a biopsy.

Is It Painful?

Contrary to its reputation, getting a breast biopsy isn’t always a frightening experience, and in many cases it doesn’t involve any pain at all. When there is a possibility of breast cancer, it can be lifesaving to identify it in its initial stages.

When a breast biopsy is not performed

Some conditions and diseases are contraindications to breast biopsy. These are:

  • Periods of pregnancy and lactation;
  • Exacerbation of chronic infections;
  • The presence of a built-in pacemaker;
  • acute infectious process;
  • blood clotting disorders.

Biopsy sampling from the mammary glands is not performed during menstruation.

See also: Large Lump in Armpit

Types of biopsy

Biopsy of the breast is carried out in one of the ways. There are 3 of them. These are:

  • Fine needle aspiration biopsy. It is a gentle and least traumatic manipulation. The essence of the procedure is as follows: under the control of ultrasound, a needle punctures the skin and further intake of material. Biopsy takes a few minutes. After that, the material obtained is sent to the laboratory for examination. Thin-needle biopsy is indicated for breast cysts – cavities filled with fluid. After aspiration of the fluid, the walls of the cyst stick together on their own, and the cyst shell shrivels up. In the diagnosis of malignant tumors and fibroadenomas, this method shows low efficiency.
  • Trepanobiopsy. A large-diameter needle with a cutting edge is used for this manipulation. Thanks to this, it is possible to obtain a “column” of breast tissue. The procedure, as well as fine needle aspiration biopsy, is carried out under the control of ultrasound. Trepanobiopsy is not inferior to the classic surgical biopsy in terms of effectiveness. With the help of this method malignant neoplasms in the breast tissues can be detected.
  • Surgical biopsy. This is a kind of mini-operation, which is performed under local anesthesia. A small skin incision is made to extract the tissue.

The resulting biopsy material is subjected to morphological examination. If the results of the study show a malignant tumor, an immunohistochemical study is also performed to determine the form of the cancer.

Patient’s stories

Story #1

I have to say that the mammologist’s office has an ultrasound machine, and all manipulations, whether puncture or biopsy, are done while looking at the monitor screen.

So, I was asked to lie down on the couch again, and they determined the area of the breast, where pieces of tissue would be taken from. First, the surgeon injected me anesthetic – lidocaine, and after a couple of minutes began to pierce the tissue, making the way, as I understood, for the so-called “gun” with a huge needle. Then with this needle she would find the right place, where a piece of fabric would be taken from, warning me that there would be a click and that I would not be frightened. The doctor pierced and clicked the “gun” four times, each time changing needles. After that I was sent to the nurses at the day care center where they gave me a plastic container with ice and I had to put it on my breast for about thirty minutes.

There was hardly any bruising, although I was expecting something scary. Two weeks later I went back to the oncologist-mammologist to see the result of the biopsy. I was told that there was nothing wrong with me, and it was only now that I could breathe a sigh of relief.

Story #2

I’ll be honest with you, I saw a lot of pictures on the Internet and went to the procedure with my hands and legs shaking. I was more afraid of the procedure itself than the confirmation of cancer. But it turned out to be not so scary.

I had a trepan biopsy under ultrasound supervision, sometimes they do it under X-ray control.

I lay down on a high couch, the doctor first injected my chest with anesthetic, I think lidocaine, around the tumor.

As a result, my breast went numb and I felt no pain. I only felt an unpleasant stirring in my chest.

  1. In the meantime, the doctor was running the ultrasound probe, holding his trepan gun up to the right spot and warning, “There’s going to be a click.
  2. Each click meant that the needle went into the tumor and pinched off a piece. All in all, I had 3 pickups and was sent home.

A few days later the histology result came back which confirmed I had cancer.

You don’t have to be afraid of the biopsy procedure at all. It is not too painful, although unpleasant. The main fear is that the breast is a delicate soft intimate place that we cherish. If I had such a biopsy, for example, in my leg or arm, I would not be afraid at all.

Story #3

Recently I had to undergo several examinations, including a breast ultrasound. The ultrasound showed a mass near the nipple of my right breast. I was not sure and had another ultrasound at another doctor – the same thing. I went to the oncologist-mammologist, who sent me for a biopsy.

After reading the reviews about how unpleasant it all is, my hands were shaking. The doctor even asked what it was with my face. Then she reassured me that it would not hurt much.

My breast was disinfected, at the ultrasound identified the area where they will take a piece. Then they put on anesthesia. They put lidocaine, first I was asked if I had any allergies, if I had treated my teeth with local anesthetic. This was a little painful.

Then they did a puncture biopsy. By the way, who is interested (I was interested. Because on Otzovik I saw in the object reviews and puncture of the breast, and in fact the girls told about the same thing) – puncture is a puncture of the wall of a vein, cavity or any organ with a medical or diagnostic purpose, and biopsy is a method of research in which cells or tissue are taken from the body with a diagnostic or research purpose. That is, a puncture biopsy is a method in which cells or tissue are taken with a puncture (you can also scrape the biomaterial off the skin, for example, so it would be a different biopsy, a non-puncture biopsy).

The PROMAG ULTRA was used for the biopsy. When I saw it, I felt sick to my stomach and the sound I heard when the gun went off, as if it had been fired through a table. I was also surprised that the “shot” was not just one, but three. It turns out that histological examination requires material taken from several points of formation, as the more points used to take the material, the greater the reliability of the analysis.

To my surprise, it did not hurt me. No, of course, I felt something, but not pain, as if muffled blows.

It didn’t last very long. After the biopsy, they taped the place where the material was taken from with a band-aid. That was all. The next day I had a small bruise on my chest, very small, and on the day of the biopsy it was a little painful to sleep on my right side. Then the bruising got three times bigger and lasted a week, then it dissolved.


Does it hurt to do an endometrial or breast biopsy? Patients often ask our doctors about this. Many believe the procedure is painful and fraught with serious risks.

A biopsy is an invasive procedure. Usually, in order to perform it, you have to make needle punctures in the patient’s body or make an incision. But modern medicine has a “no pain” principle. The patient should not be in pain during invasive procedures.

During a biopsy, local anesthesia, sedation or general anesthesia is used, depending on how the tissue from the potential malignant tumor is obtained.

If local anesthesia is used, you may feel discomfort during the procedure, but there should be no pain. Sometimes there is bruising at the injection site after the puncture biopsy, and painfulness is a concern. These are temporary symptoms.

And also – it is safe. If the material is obtained with a needle, ultrasound, X-ray or other methods are used for control. A biopsy, if done correctly, will not cause cancer cells to spread in the body, to be “carried” into neighboring tissues.

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