Based on the results of your breast ultrasound, the doctor (radiologist) suggests an ultrasound core needle biopsy. In this procedure, we remove breast tissue samples with a core needle. The doctor guides the needle to the correct place using ultrasound.

Before the Biopsy

A Breast Center nurse will review all prescribed and over-the-counter medicines. You may need to stop blood thinners before the biopsy. The nurse will discuss this with you. You may take Tylenol® as needed if you do not have liver disease. The nurse will also review all allergies.

You will be awake for the biopsy. If you would like to take medicine to help you relax before the biopsy, please contact your primary doctor in advance. If you take this medicine, you must have someone drive you home. Do not drive or make important decisions until the next day.

You do not need to fast before the biopsy. If you are diabetic, follow your normal care routine.

Wear a two-piece outfit. We will ask you to undress from the waist up.

Do not use talcum powder, lotions or deodorant on the breast and underarm area.
Your stay at the Breast Center will be about 1-1/2 hours.

During the Biopsy

You will need to lie on your back on the exam table. You will be awake for the exam. We will place gel on your breast. We will locate the biopsy site using ultrasound.

Your breast will be cleaned with an antiseptic. This may feel cool on your skin.

We will inject a numbing medicine (Lidocaine) into your breast. You may briefly feel a sting. You may feel pressure as the needle is placed but should not feel any pain. If you do feel pain, let the staff know.

After you are completely numb, the doctor (radiologist) will make a small nick in the skin of your breast and then place the needle in the correct position using the ultrasound as a guide.
You will hear a whirring or clicking sound from the biopsy device as we take the samples. We will send the samples to the lab.

After the biopsy, we will place a small titanium marker in the breast. This will mark the area of the biopsy. If you need a future surgery, this will help guide the surgeon to the right spot. If you do not need surgery, the clip will stay in place. You can see it on future mammograms. There are no known risks with having the marker. Metal detectors or MRIs will not affect this marker.

It is normal to have some light bleeding after the biopsy. We will apply pressure until it stops. We will cover the site with thin strips of tape (Steri-strips). Then apply an ice pack for about 10 minutes.

After your biopsy is complete, you will have a final mammogram to look at the placement of the marker.

After Care

  • Apply ice for 20-30 minutes at least 3 times the day of the biopsy. Then, use ice as needed to reduce swelling and pain.

  • Wear a support bra, like a sports bra, for 24-48 hours.

  • You may remove the gauze bandage over the biopsy site the next day. You will have thin strips of tape or Steri-Strips over the site. These will loosen and come off on their own in about 5 days. If they are still in place after 5 days, you may gently peel them off.

  • You may shower the next morning. Do not soak in a bath or pool for 48 hours.


You may have some pain and bruising. It should go away in about a week. You may take Tylenol for the first 24 hours if you do not have liver problems. You may resume taking aspirin or ibuprofen 24 hours after the biopsy (if no signs of bleeding) or as directed by your doctor.

Blood Thinners

Ask your doctor when you can resume taking Coumadin, aspirin, or other blood thinners.


Avoid forceful arm movements and heavy lifting for the first 24 hours. You may resume your normal routine the next day or as directed by your doctor.


Your biopsy results should be ready in 3-4 working days. You will receive those results through Mychart if you have an active account. Your doctor or the Breast Center staff will call you within 1-2 working days after the results are received. They will explain your results and go over follow up needs.

When to Call

  • Fever over 100.4° F for two readings taken 4 hours apart

  • Increased swelling, firmness, redness or warmth

  • Pus around the site

  • Heavy bleeding from the site

Who to Call

Call your doctor or the Breast Center if you have questions or concerns about your care.
Breast Center at the Clinical Sciences Center 600 Highland Avenue
Monday-Friday, 8:00 am to 4:30 pm

Breast Center at 1 S Park Medical Center
Monday-Friday, 8:00 am to 4:30 pm

After hours, call 608-263-6400 Ask for the radiologist on call. Give your name and number with the area code. The doctor will call you back.