Stereotactic Breast Biopsy

Stereotactic Breast Biopsy is a nonsurgical procedure completed on an outpatient basis with a minimum of discomfort and recovery time.

Once a lump or abnormality has been detected, your doctor may want to conduct a biopsy. This procedure involves taking sample tissue from the suspicious area to determine whether it is cancerous.

While the thought of having a biopsy might be frightening, the results can provide reassuring peace of mind. Remember, the vast majority of biopsies turn out to be non-cancerous. And a biopsy is currently the only way to achieve an accurate diagnosis

Exam Preparation

  • It is not necessary (in fact, it is not recommended) to fast prior to the biopsy.
  • Wear comfortable clothing on the day of the biopsy. On arrival, you will be asked to remove your clothing from the waist up and put on a mammography gown.
  • The technologist will then discuss the biopsy with you, ask pertinent questions, and answer any questions you might have and will have you sign a consent form.
  • Please inform the technologist if you have had a prior allergic reactions to any medications.

During The Exam - What to Expect

Upon entering the procedure room, the woman lies face-down on a special table. The table has a hole through which the breast is placed. The breast is slightly compressed to immobilize it, just as in a mammmogram. This allows our radiologists to get a clear mammographic image of the area to be sampled. The table is connected to a computer that processes digital images. Placement of the sampling device is guided by a computerized system using x-rays.

Two images at different angles are taken that allow the computer to localize the mass and calculate the coordinates. Local anesthesia is used before the vaccum - operated needle is advanced to the coordinates that were calculated by the computer. The advance of the needle is followed by several images.

Once the needle is seen to be in the breast mass or the breast microcalcification, vacuum-assisted biopsies are taken. The patient is awake throughout the whole procedure and can go home with a Band-Aid shortly thereafter. The pathology specimens are sent to a pathologist, and the results are usually known within two-to-four days.

After the Exam

It is best to avoid strenuous activity for about 24 hours after the procedure. It also helps to place an ice pack on the breast to ease any discomfort. Some patients may have a bruise for about 10 days after the procedure, and there may be a tiny scar at the point where the needle was inserted.

At LRA, we have a radiologist on site at all times so the test will be interpreted promptly. After we have received the pathologist diagnosis which usually takes 2 working days. The results will be phoned, faxed, mailed, or delivered electronically to the referring physician. He/she will share the results with the patient.

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