I had someone ask me some questions regarding my biopsy. Someone they know will be having one soon. Breast cancer biopsy questions are below, but I wanted to tell you my story first. I realized I talked about it briefly here but I didn’t really cover what it was like. I had a core-needle biopsy.
“During an ultrasound-guided core needle biopsy, the patient lies down while the doctor holds the ultrasound against the breast to direct the needle. On the other hand, during a stereotactic-guided core-needle biopsy, the doctor uses x-ray equipment (in my case it was ultrasound guided) and a computer to guide the needle.” Quote from here.
So I laid on my side. Left arm over my head. They tried to get me as comfortable as possible. They did an ultrasound of my breast. They cleaned up the breast and then numbed the area with a needle. Once it was numb, they started the biopsy. They did something that I can’t really describe… it opened up a tiny hole to guide the needle down. It was like putting a needle/guide in so that a thinner one could go inside. Once they found different areas they wanted to pull tissue/cells from the tumor from they would countdown. Then I heard a loud click. There was slight pressure. It was almost like a needle gun going in and out quickly. There was a time where they grabbed from an area that wasn’t quite numb, so they would pause and then quickly numb that area with more local anesthesia. It hurt but anesthesia would kick in quickly. That’s not always the case I’m sure, but that was the case for me. If you are going to go through this, don’t be afraid to speak up. Ask for more if you feel anything. I heard the clicks several times. For me, they also had to go in the armpit where the lymph nodes are. I can’t remember how long it took. I think an hour on the patient bed maybe? During one of the clicks they put a marker in. If it is cancer that will tell them where it is. Right after that cleaned me up and put a special medical glue to close it up. IT was a tiny incision. Not a big deal. The nurse stood there for about 5 minutes applying a lot of pressure on the area (I can’t remember why). I had a mammogram done after so they can see exactly where the margins where placed and then they wrapped me up really tight. I was done after that. I remember it hurting a bit, but I applied ice packs about every 30 minutes to help with the pain and swelling. I went home that day and did not really move from my couch.
I had a biopsy done Friday first thing in the morning. I got the call Monday morning from my dr. I found out it was cancer after that. Tuesday I would find out it was triple negative stage 2…not sure why they couldn’t tell me the same day, but I guess they needed to do more testing on the samples they had.
So now questions!
1) Does the Marker hurt after the procedure is done? What’s it made of?
I didn’t feel the marker. It’s tiny. The area hurt overall, but it was definitely manageable. The worst part was the emotional part. The waiting. I actually do not know what it is made of. I can’t remember.
2) What side affects did you experience from having a foreign object inserted in your body?
I didn’t even realize or feel the marker inside. Once I had surgery that was taken out. As far as the overall biopsy being done, the first time, It was fine. A couple days later I was ok. It was a bit sore for a few days, but I was fine.
The second time I had a biopsy done (I needed another for a clinical trial I was on) It hurt walking out of the building. Down the ramp of the parking lot was the worst thing ever. It was so uncomfortable. I went to lunch after and it hurt so I held my boob and whined. haha This was the time that I felt the needle going in and out and they had to numb it more…. I simply took pain meds (tylenol I think) and it kicked in about 20 minutes later and I felt better.
3) How long did it take for the numbing to wear off after the biopsy.
I can’t remember honestly. I took tylenol as soon as I got home and tried to rest/nap the first time. The second time, I mentioned that it just hurt so bad walking out so not sure. I was on those pain meds right after.
4) Is the weekend enough time to recover after the biopsy?
Some people go to work right after the biopsy. With that being said, I think that’s crazy. I mentioned the first time I had the biopsy on a Friday, but Monday it would have been fine to go back to work. I took the day off because I knew I would hear the news and deep down I knew it was cancer. I didn’t go to work at all that week, because I had a million appointments and imaging to get done.
5) Any tips on recovery?
Ice packs every 30-60 minutes and take whatever they tell you for pain. I think it was tylenol, but I would double check with your dr.