Surgical Services

Breast Punch Biopsy guide

This page has been produced to give you information about punch biopsy, and aims to answer any questions that you might have.

If you have any further queries then please discuss these with the medical or nursing staff looking after you.

Why do I need a punch biopsy?Show [+]Hide [-]

You need a punch biopsy because an examination of your breast has highlighted an area that needs further investigation.

What is a punch biopsy?

This is a test using a special instrument (a punch) to remove a small sample of tissue from the skin over your breast. This sample of tissue will then be sent to the hospital laboratory for testing and gives the Doctor more information about this area of your breast.

How is the punch biopsy done?

The biopsy is usually done with you lying down. The whole procedure takes about 10-15 minutes and is usually done whilst you are in the clinic. A local anaesthetic will be used to ‘numb’ the area and the punch will be used to take a piece of tissue from your breast. More than one sample may be taken.

The Nurse in clinic will press on the area for a few minutes to help stop any bleeding.

Steri-strips or paper stitches and a waterproof dressing are then applied. This should be left in place for three to four days.

Will the test be painful?Show [+]Hide [-]

As all women are different, so is the discomfort that they may feel during the test.

As local anaesthetic is always given the discomfort during the test should be minimal.

What happens after the biopsy is taken?

Before you leave the clinic you will be advised what to expect after you have had the biopsy.

After this biopsy, you may experience some tenderness or discomfort. This is quite normal and may be relieved by taking a mild painkiller e.g. paracetomol. Please do not take anything containing aspirin as this may cause more bruising.

There may be bruising around the area. This is quite normal and should fade as any other bruise would.

The small waterproof dressing applied after the test can usually be removed after three to four days. You can bathe and shower as usual. You may find warm baths soothing but avoid hot baths or showers as these may make you bruise more. You can wear your bra as normal.

What about the result of the test?Show [+]Hide [-]

It usually takes five to seven working days to examine the tissue sample taken and an appointment will be made for you to return to the clinic for the results.

If treatment is needed it will be discussed at this time.

If you wish you can bring a relative or a friend to this appointment with you.

More information

If you have any concerns about this biopsy then you can contact your GP or Nurse Specialist for advice.

Contact details

Your Nurse Specialist :

Leaflet to download

You can download the information on this page as a pdf leaflet.pdf

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