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Old 09-21-2008, 06:54 PM
659 posts, read 4,955,619 times
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I have to get a core needle breast biopsy on my breast lumps (2). I am really worried about the procedure. I've read awful things about it online. My understanding is that the radiologist does it, and they numb the breast tissue with local anesthesia, and then insert the core needle device, which takes about 7 samples of tissue for evaluation.

How painful was it? How much blood loss/bruising did you have? How long did it take before you were back to normal afterwards? Unfortunately I have to get this twice--once for each breast.

I've had differing opinions as to whether I need this or not. My gyn says don't get it, but then I went for a second opinion to a breast surgeon, and he said I should get it b/c I'm over 30, but not because there is anything about the lumps that is suspicious for cancer. I want to err on the side of caution, I guess, though I'm scared about the procedure.
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Old 09-21-2008, 09:54 PM
Location: Catonsville, MD
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I had a core needle biopsy in October 2006 and the first things I'll say about it are that immediately afterward, hubby took me out to lunch at my favorite Vietnamese restaurant and then took me to buy me a laptop AND you can barely see the scar now.

I had the biopsy because I had microcalcifications in my left breast which can, if they're clustered in a particular way, be a precursor to breast cancer. The radiologist suggested I wait 6 months and then have another mammogram to see if they looked worse. Upon consultation with a breast surgeon, he said, "why don't we just get a biopsy out of the way so you can either get to work solving any potential early cancer problems OR stop worrying because it's nothing." I agreed with him. And I'm so glad I had it done then instead of waiting, not because he found anything, but because I was a nervous wreck thinking I might have breast cancer (I don't.)

For the procedure, the have you lie face down with the breast dangling through a hole. You are given local anaesthesia. I can't say it was pain free, but it wasn't horrible. At one point, when they actually took the core, it was a bit painful (I'd liken it to feeling like I was getting small electrical shocks.) That lasted only as long as they were taking the actual core which lasted about a minute. I had very little bleeding. Some bruising, but not horrible. Like I said above, I have a barely noticeable scar. After the vietnamese lunch and buying the new laptop, I came home and took it easy for a day and a half. I really wasn't incapacitated by it much at all. And I'm really a wimp.

Have you had a simple needle biopsy? I mean a thin needle to try to aspirate the lumps you have? I had a fibroadenoma in my 20s that they tried to aspirate with a needle (it didn't work.) I had surgery to remove the lump and that's when they discovered it was a fibroadenoma which is totally benign. If they are sure it's not cancer, why does the breast surgeon want to do the core biopsy? If a breast surgeon is saying you should have it, I think I'd go with the breast surgeon's opinion.

Whatever you do, I wish you the best of luck!
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Old 09-21-2008, 10:15 PM
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
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I had an MRI guided biopsy done...I think we 'talked' about it already...Mine was a little more invasive...More people in the room etc etc... For me, the procedure took longer. I was in the MRI for 45 mins then they started the biopsy... They had to take several samples. I think they passed the needle 22 times. Not alot of blood, can't see my scar at all, felt alot of pressure and toward the end it started to get painful... I was back to normal that day...I just was not aloud to pick up my kids...or anything heavy.

I do know it depends on the size of the lumps. If your Breast doc thinks the lumps are a certain size he will biopsy them...usually take them out if they are bigger then 5 cm. Also your family history.
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Old 09-21-2008, 11:08 PM
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Lumps were found last winter; I have had two ultrasounds done 6 months apart which show them to be stable--i.e. they did not change size at all from the first ultrasound. I met with my gyn to discuss the results in July--he said don't get the biopsy, that it isn't necessary unless I was worrying about what they were. The u/s did not show anything suspicious--the lumps were consistent with a fibroadenoma diagnosis.

I felt I needed to get a second opinion, so I went to a breast surgeon, who said get the biopsy or get them removed, because they can't know for sure what they are unless they get tissue samples. He also said b/c I'm over 30 that I should get it done.

I don't have a family history of breast cancer, however, I have a lot of personal risk factors, in my opinion. There isn't anything suspicious about the lumps--they look like fibroadenomas on u/s and on exam, but I feel like I should go ahead with this since the breast surgeon recommended it. Maybe I should get a third opinion from another breast surgeon? I hate to do an invasive procedure like this, but at the same time, I have been worrying about this ever since the breast surgeon said I should get it done.

Also, one of the lumps is painful cyclically with my period--it grows right before my period and then shrinks down afterwards--which further suggests it's benign, in my opinion. The other one is too small to be felt.

Also, because the lumps are solid on u/s a fine needle aspiration isn't an option. My procedure would be a core needle biopsy under ultrasound.
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Old 09-22-2008, 01:05 PM
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
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Well, good luck with your decision. I am very happy I had mine biopsied,,,they were able to remove the entire fibroadenoma...so I am just thankful I have nothing to keep an eye on anymore and it just makes me feel better they know 100% what it was and was not cancer...

They tried to do and US guided core needle biopsy on me as well and my breast tissue is so dense, they could not visualize the mass...hence the mri guided biopsy.
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Old 09-24-2008, 09:33 PM
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Red face don't worry

I just had this procedure done 2 weeks ago. It was somewhat painful, but the Doctor said that it normally is not. Apparently I had nerves connected to or surrounding the lump. Afterwards it was tender and a little sore, but nothing major. It didn't keep me from doing anything. Healed up quickly(and nicely) some bruising, but again- nothing major. I was A-ok by the next week. Also, hardly any blood loss, just a tiny bit immedietly after procedure. Good luck, and don't worry too much!
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Old 09-25-2008, 09:52 AM
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Default Biopsy

I had this done a few years ago; once it was all said in done, it was more weird than it was painful. The sounds/position/lighting are all very unsettling, but the actual procedure was not painful (just uncomfortable), and recover was speedy. No pain or bruising, and the surgeon now has to hunt for the scar.

Good luck; try to relax and not worry too much!
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Old 09-25-2008, 05:59 PM
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I had one a couple of years ago. Piece of cake! Do not fear it. There is virtually no blood loss, a little bruising and soreness afterward for a few days.
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Old 09-25-2008, 08:49 PM
Location: Moon Over Palmettos
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Had one last December. Not as bad as I thought. If you have a good radiology oncologist who is compassionate and explains the procedure to you step by step, it's not a big deal.
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Old 02-21-2009, 10:06 PM
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Default My core biopsy experience

Hi, I just went thru a core needle biospy and I can assure it was pain free! I know it sounds aweful, and I was surprised how easy a process it was. I read all the horror stories and was dripping sweat waiting for the procedure to begin. If only I knew how easy it would be. DO NOT DREAD it.

Here is what happened:

I met with a nurse who took my vitals, then met the doctor. They took me into the room with "the special table". I laid down on it with my face turned towards the wall. I could feel they were putting the machine in place but it was just a little squeezing. They told me what they were doing the whole process. They marked the spot where they were going to put the local anethestic and then proceeded to perform the injections which I could barely feel - REALLY. When they were ready to insert the core needle I was completely numbed although I didn't feel that weird numbing you get when get numbed at the dentist. There was some clacking sounds, and apparently it vacuumed spots in a clockwise movement all around the target region. The whole process took about 30 minutes.

So, do not fear this. It wasn't that bad.
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