A stereotactic breast biopsy uses a special computer to guide a needle to a suspicious area seen on a mammogram. The doctor then uses the needle to take a sample of the breast tissue in question.
A large percentage of these abnormalities are benign and present no health risks. This biopsy is non-invasive and provides an accurate way to obtain the tissue sample required for diagnosis. This kind of biopsy requires little recovery time, and there is no significant scarring to the breast.
The stereotactic breast biopsy is performed by a board-certified radiologist who specializes in these kinds of breast biopsies. The radiologist is assisted by a radiological technologist who also specializes in breast imaging. Before you arrive, the radiologist will have studied your mammogram to become familiar with the location of the suspicious breast tissue.
Sometimes the radiologist will ask for additional images before the procedure in order to determine the exact location of the mass.
What can I expect?
You will lie face down on the examination table with your breast positioned through a round opening in the table. The table will then be elevated so that the physician and technologist can work from below, while keeping you as comfortable as possible.
This part of the procedure will seem much like your mammogram except that you will be lying down. Your breast will be compressed, usually somewhat less tightly than during a regular mammogram.
How should I prepare?
To reduce the risk of bleeding during the procedure, we recommend that patients not take any aspirin product for seven days prior to the procedure and not take any ibuprofen product (such as Advil® or Motrin®) for two days prior to the procedure. If you are on prescription blood thinning medication such as coumadin (check proper listing) or aspirin, please consult with your physician prior to scheduling this exam.
What can I expect afterwards?
After the procedure, pressure and ice will be applied to the biopsy site. The radiologist will then discuss what to expect after the examination and what to do when you get home. You will also receive written post-procedure instructions.
Most women feel fine after the procedure. Tylenol® may be used for relief of any discomfort. However, we recommend that you avoid exercise or strenuous activity for twenty-four hours after the procedure. If possible, it's a good idea to go home to relax after the procedure.
How do I get the results?
The tissue samples will be sent to a pathologist after the biopsy. The pathologist will examine the tissue under a microscope and send a report to your doctor within a few days. If you do not have a scheduled follow-up appointment to discuss the results, you should call your doctor to arrange one.