How to Recover From a Biopsy. The time it takes to recover from a biopsy depends on the type of biopsy. For fine needle aspiration biopsies, the recovery time is minimal. If the biopsy is performed under general anesthesia, the recovery time may take up to 2 weeks or more.
Take Time to Recover
Realize that the postoperative care for a procedure such as an open excisional breast biopsy includes pain control if needed, and avoiding any heavy lifting for 2 weeks. The incision takes about a month to completely heal.
Prepare for biopsies to internal organs, such as the liver, to require bed rest for up to 24 hours following the procedure. It is normal to have soreness at the incision site, but it is usually easily controlled by over the counter medication, such as Tylenol.
Follow the guidelines given on dismissal to look for signs of bleeding and infection.
Know that following most biopsies it is ok to resume a normal diet. If you had a biopsy of any part of the digestive system, you may be restricted for the first few days following the procedure.
Prepare to spend time in the recovery room following a biopsy under general anesthesia. Your vital signs (blood pressure, pulse and breathing) must be stable before you will be discharged. Most biopsies under local anesthesia do not require any recovery room time.
Keep the incision site clean and dry. Follow discharge instructions about when to shower and when to return for removal of stitches.
Understand that biopsies to obtain lung tissue require a hospital stay to recover until breathing is returned to normal. Complications that can occur requiring immediate intervention include air leakage, bleeding and pneumonia.
Identify the Risks With a Biopsy
Expect to see some bruising at the biopsy site. If the bruising does not go away or start changing colors in a few days following the biopsy, notify your doctor. This may be an indication that there is prolonged bleeding from the site.
Look for signs of infection. This could be redness, swelling or increasing pain at the biopsy site.
Understand the possibility of puncturing another organ when the biopsy is internal. Call your doctor if you begin experiencing any unusual symptoms or increased internal pain.