Breast biopsy

Do breast biopsies affect milk supply?

A breast biopsy removes a piece of the breast so that it can be examined for cancer or other diseases. Biopsies can be open, in which the skin is cut and a piece of tissue is removed through the opening, or they can be done with a needle that is pushed through the skin and into the abnormal area. Open biopsies may affect milk supply if the milk tissue is extensively damaged, a large piece of tissue is removed, or the area behind the nipple is disturbed. Needle biopsies are very unlikely to affect milk supply.

A) Describing breast biopsies

In a breast biopsy, a piece of the breast is removed for examination under a microscope. It is done to identify abnormalities and to ensure there is no cancer.

Breast biopsies can be open, in which the skin is cut and a piece of tissue is removed through the opening. They can also be done with a hollow needle that is pushed through the skin and into the abnormal area. This is a needle biopsy.

B) The effect of breast biopsies on breastfeeding

Open biopsies may affect milk supply if:

  • The milk tissue is extensively damaged in the process.
  • A large piece of tissue is removed.
  • The area behind the nipple is disturbed.

Needle biopsies do not generally affect milk supply.

Mothers who have had an open biopsy may be at risk of other breastfeeding problems.