Jerry K. Myers, M.D.
Breast biopsies are very common procedures. The actual surgery is done by making an incision either over the nodule or if possible at the areolar margin and then dissecting out the nodule. For a palpable nodule, the biopsy is done by your going to the outpatient admission area and then directly on to surgery for the excision. However, if the nodule is seen only by mammography or ultrasound, then you will first have a localization wire placed at the Breast Center and then go over to the hospital for the surgery. If in the preop discussion, a decision was made to proceed with more surgery than just a biopsy; i.e., mastectomy, then following this larger surgery, a full admission to the hospital might be necessary.
Following the surgery, the incision is closed with either absorbable or removable sutures. Butterfly tapes or steri-strips are usually placed over the wound to secure the closure and can be removed within a week without any problem. Other surgical dressings can be taken off anytime after the first 24 hours. Ideally, it would be best not to bathe the incision for the next 2-3 days until good wound healing has occurred. Simply taping Saran Wrap over the wound will prevent excessive wetness of the wound during a bath or shower. If the wound is bathed or gets wet, that is not a problem, just simply make sure the wound edges approximation has not been disrupted. Occasionally, especially with breast biopsies, permanent sutures tied in a small bow will be noticed protruding from each end of the wound. This suture will be removed at your office visit which is usually within 5-7 days following the surgery. If absorbable sutures are used, no removal is necessary, as they will dissolve.
After many outpatient surgical procedures, you will be discharged prior to a full discussion of the situation by me. Obviously, the details will have been given to the designated person with you, and they will relay the information on to you. My office staff will usually call you within the next 24 hours to make sure that all your questions have been answered, and also, that there are no surgical problems. However, if you have any questions, please call my office at any time to have them answered.
As stated, if any problem arises in which you have a question, please notify my office at anytime. Most specifically, if fever occurs, inflammation, or redness around the wound, please notify me. It is not unusual for surgical wounds to be indurated and appear swollen. This may be a normal inflammatory healing process. However, the tenderness and the inflammatory response should improve daily and if it does not, this is an indication of a process that may need to be addressed. Wound hematomas occasionally occur and may spontaneously drain. This drainage appears as a bloody material that is usually a reddish serum and presents more of a nuisance to healing than a major problem. A wound infection may appear as a red, firm and/or tender area, sometimes with a pustular drainage. Most wound problems do not show for 3-5 days, so again, if any unanticipated problem with the wound develops, please notify me or my nurse.