Research About Breast Biopsy-Accuracy -Side Effects-Pain

Research About Breast Biopsy


Surgical biopsies and core-needle biopsies both work well for finding breast cancer. But biopsies are not 100-percent accurate. In a few cases, a biopsy can miss breast cancer.

Surgical biopsies and ultrasound or stereotactic-guided core-needle biopsies have about the same accuracy. Freehand core-needle biopsies are less accurate.

Out of every 100 women who have breast cancer:

  • Surgical biopsies will find 98 to 99 of those breast cancers.
  • Ultrasound or stereotactic-guided biopsies will find 97 to 99 of those breast cancers.
  • Freehand biopsies will find about 86 of those breast cancers.

Side Effects

Bleeding, bruising, and infection can happen after a biopsy. Core-needle biopsies have a much lower risk of these problems than surgical biopsies.

Side effects are rare with any kind of core-needle biopsy.

  • Less than 1 out of 100 women who have a core-needle biopsy have a problem like severe bruising, bleeding, or infection.

Side effects happen more often with surgical biopsy.

  • Up to 10 out of 100 women who have surgical biopsy get severe bruising.
  • About 5 out of 100 women who have surgical biopsy get an infection.

Some medicines, including aspirin, increase the risk of bleeding and bruising. Your doctor will ask you about the medicines you take. You may need to stop some medicines a few days before the biopsy.


Women who have a surgical biopsy sometimes need prescription pain medicine to control pain after the procedure. Women who have a core-needle biopsy rarely need prescription pain medicine.