Why do I need this done?

Your mammogram or ultrasound has highlighted an abnormal area in your breast, or underarm, which needs further investigation. The best way to find out what the abnormal area is, is to obtain a tissue sample called a core biopsy.

Before this procedure, please tell the doctor if you are:

  • Allergic to local anaesthetic or
  • On blood thinning medicine such as aspirin or warfarin

What is a core biopsy?

Using a needle we take a small sample of tissue from your breast, or underarm. This is then examined by a pathologist, who will be able to diagnose the problem.

How is it done?

We will ask you to lie on a couch in a comfortable position, as you did for your ultrasound examination. Using ultrasound to guide us, we identify the area of interest in your breast and inject a local anaesthetic into the area of your breast to numb the surrounding skin and tissue.

We make a small incision in the skin and insert a special biopsy needle. We will then take several samples of tissue. The needle makes a loud clicking noise and you may feel some pressure but you should feel no pain. 

It is very important that you keep still during the procedure. When we withdraw the needle, we will press on the area for a short time to ensure any bleeding has stopped.

A tiny adhesive strip (called steristrips) is placed across the incision and covered with a small dressing.

What happens after the procedure?

You may feel some discomfort. If so, you can take some painkillers, e.g. paracetamol, but you should avoid aspirin or aspirin based products.

You may notice some bruising or swelling to the area, but usually this does not cause a problem and should settle as any normal bruise would.

What about the dressing?

The dressing can be removed the following day and the steristrip can remain in place until it falls off. Please keep the area clean.

If either the dressing or steristrip caused irritation, please remove immediately.

When will I get my results?

Before you leave the hospital you will need to make an appointment at the breast clinic for the following week to get your results.

Please do not hesitate to ask any questions, either before, during or after the examination.

If you have any questions or require further information or advice, contact:

Radiology Department

Between 9am and 5pm


01935 384835

Breast Care Nurses

01935 384352

Ref: 27-15-103
Review: 06/2024