Supporting women whose lives have been touched by breast cancer

Ultrasound guided biopsy

by bl

I have to be honest I was very nervous about this procedure under local anaesthetic, in part I guess because local anaesthetic has not always been very successful for me in the past. The thought of someone taking chunks out of a very sensitive part of my body if the anaesthetic did not work properly made me feel quite shaky, but I need not have worried.

First of all they used the ultrasound to find the lesion again and then injected the local anaesthetic. There was the usual ‘slight prick’ and a small stinging sensation. The radiologist then asked me if I could feel anything sharp and I couldn’t.

She explained that they usually take 3 samples, but sometimes it can be less or more. She explained that I would feel a pushing and pulling sensation whilst they put the probe in place and a noise like a large spring when the sample was taken. The noise was demonstrated to me so that I knew what to expect. I was also told that in between each sample the radiographer would press hard on my breast to stem the bleeding. I was told to keep very still – I didn’t need convincing!

I felt the initial push of the probe into the breast, but it was quite painless and then a sensation of being stroked under the skin is the best way I can describe. It was not an unpleasant sensation, but a little weird when it was directly under the nipple. When the probe was in place I was warned that the ‘noise’ was coming now and the biopsy was taken. I never felt a thing I’m pleased to say. The most uncomfortable part of the whole procedure was the radiographer leaning on my chest to stem the bleeding, but I found that if I focused on what she was trying to do and visualised in my mind the blood vessels ceasing to bleed it made it bearable.

4 samples were taken through the one opening and then sterile strips were placed across the wound and covered by a dressing that looked like a square of sticky backed cling film, which was waterproof and allowed me to shower. I was told to leave it in place for 3 days and then remove the dressing and sterile strips. I then underwent a further mammogram to check that they had biopsied the correct area. This was slightly more uncomfortable than previous mammograms, but by no means unbearable.

I was told I would have some bruising and if it bled to apply pressure as you would on any other site. I could take paracetamol, but not ibuprofen, as it thinned the blood. Luckily I had minimal bruising and discomfort. I took some paracetamol before going to bed the first evening, but didn’t need them after that.

If I ever have to have another one it would not faze me in the slightest.

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