Side Effects Of An Excisional Breast Biopsy

Side Effects Of An Excisional Breast Biopsy Sometimes certain medical procedures that are aimed to benefit the body actually end up causing more side effects in the process. And excisional breast biopsy happens to be one of those few tricky procedures that can leave you with a spate of health related issues both in the short and long runs.

What Exactly Is An Exicisional Breast Biopsy?

Usually used to diagnose a breast lump, an excisional breast biopsy is a medical procedure wherein a small incision is made in the breast (near the lump or on it), after which a surgical apparatus is inserted into the incision and used to cut the tumor (causing the lump) inside the breast.

The procedure helps to remove as much of the tumor as is possible after which the incision is closed. The removed tumor is then sent for medical tests to ascertain the nature of the same and the possibility of a cancerous growth.

The Side Effects Associated With Excisional Breast Biopsy

Although an excisional breast biopsy is considered as a safe and standard medical procedure that is deemed necessary to correctly diagnose issues like breast cancer, it can leave you with a few very nasty side effects that could haunt you for life.

Allergic Reactions

It is a standard procedure to administer anesthesia before doing an excisional breast biopsy. However, the anesthesia may potentially cause an allergic reaction in the body, especially when a sensitive immune system is concerned. In these cases, the body reacts to the presence of the anesthesia and tries to get rid of it some way or the other.

And this can lead to several side effects like nausea, headaches, disorientation, diarrhea, severe vomiting and light headedness . In most of the cases, the symptoms decrease after a few minutes or hours.. However, in severe cases (like loss of consciousness or seizures) the person would have to be medically treated.


Any kind of wound or cut could cause infection if it is not cared for properly. The same goes for Excisional Breast Biopsy which usually involves a comparatively medium to large incision on breast.
Side Effects Of An Excisional Breast Biopsy

side effects of excisional breast biopsy

And even though the incision would be properly closed after the procedure, negligence in caring for it afterwards could lead to the development of several bacterial, fungal or viral infections at the surgical site. This in turn can cause issues like redness, swelling, inflammation at the site which can spread to other parts of the breast (and the body) if not treated on time.

Internal and External Scarring

Excisional Breast Biopsy involves actually removing a portion of the lump present inside the breast. During this process, a large amount of breast tissue would also be removed with the lump. This in turn can cause internal scarring at the place where the breast tissue and the lump were removed.

In case an excessively large amount of breast tissue needs to be removed for the biopsy (in case of very large lumps), the chances of extensive internal scarring are high. The high density of the scar tissue would also make it impossible for future mammograms to detect more lumps in the breast. This would warrant further biopsies to keep on testing for possible lumps.

Excisional Breast Biopsy can also cause external scarring. The site where the incision is made for the procedure would retain a linear scar that would mostly be hard to notice but still look awkward in an otherwise flawless breast.

Permanent Disfigurement

As in the case of large lumps, a large amount of breast tissue needs to be removed for the procedure. In addition to causing internal and external scarring, this could actually make the breast hollow from inside, leading to a change in the breast’s glandular structure and normal consistency.

This in turn could cause breast disfigurement which could be corrected only via breast reconstruction surgeries that usually cost a bomb! For the less fortunate ones, the horror of living with a disfigured breast and body would haunt them forever.

Points To Ponder Before Opting For An Excisional Breast Biopsy

Now that you know what the possible side effects of Excisional Breast Biopsy are, there are a few things you need to ponder before opting for the medical procedure.

These include the type of biopsy you need to go in for, the exact location of the incision, the size of the breast tissue that would be removed during the procedure, how the procedure would affect your breast afterwards, the possibility of a side reaction to the anesthesia, the possibility of side effects like soreness, scars, bruises, color changes, or holes; and other general health considerations like tiredness and fatigue.