Stereotactic Biopsy

A stereotactic breast biopsy is an alternative to open surgical biopsy. It produces digital images of the breast allowing the radiologist to locate suspicious lesions to the accuracy of one millimeter. It is more cost effective than the surgical biopsy and leaves only a small scar at the site of the incision. Stereotactic core biopsies shorten the time from initial detection of lesions at mammography to final diagnosis and breast conserving therapy.

Some indications for a stereotactic breast biopsy are:

  • A suspicious mass that cannot be felt on breast exam
  • A mammogram showing suspicious clusters of small calcium deposits
  • A distorted structure of breast tissue
  • A new mass or area of calcium deposits present at a previous surgery site
  • The patient or physician strongly prefers a non-surgical method of assessment

Stereotactic breast biopsy provides the same reliability as surgical biopsy, but provides these significant advantages:

  • No anesthesia required
  • Less time required
  • More cost effective
  • Much less complicated

Preparation and Special Instructions

If you are taking any of the medications below please contact your physician. It is recommended that you not take these medications five days before a biopsy. You should never stop taking prescribed medications without instructions from your physician. Regular medications should be taken as prescribed by physician. A comfortable two piece garment should be worn. Please avoid using talcum powder, deodorant  or lotion in the breast and underarm area on the day of your biopsy.

• Aleve • Alka-Setzer • Aspirin • Advil • BC or Goody’s Powder • Bextra • Celebrax • Coumadin or Warfarin • Excedrin • Ibuprofen • Levaquin • Mobic • Multivitamin • Naprosyn • Plavix • Vitamin E • Vioxx

What to Expect

The patient will lie on a specifically designed table which allows for visualization of the breast. A paddle-shaped instrument compresses the breast during the biopsy. The skin is washed and a local anesthetic is injected. A small incision is made in the skin. The tip of the biopsy needle is then advanced through the incision to the calculated site of the lesion. Stereo images (digital mammography images) are taken to confirm that the needle tip is actually within the lesion. Five to twelve samples are collected and sent to a laboratory for pathology evaluation. A final set of stereo images are obtained and a small clip is placed at the biopsy site so that it can be easily located if the lesion is cancerous.

Most biopsies take about one hour per suspected site. Most women report little or no pain afterward. There may be a small scar from the tiny skin incision. It is not unusual for a small amount of bleeding to occur where the needle was placed. The breast will be bandaged and a cold pack will be applied to relieve swelling and bruising. A non- steroidal pain reliever, such as Tylenol, may be taken as needed.