What is a Stereotactic Breast Biopsy?
Stereotactic breast biopsy is used to take tiny samples of your breast tissue that can be studied under a microscope. During the procedure, an x-ray helps find the tissue to be removed. Stereotactic breast biopsy may prevent the need for an open (surgical) biopsy. Open biopsy is done by taking samples of tissue through an incision (cut) made in the skin.
Things to know:
- Stereotactic biopsy involves compression of the breast. In this way, it is like a mammogram. This can sometimes be uncomfortable.
- A stereotactic biopsy removes tiny samples of the suspect tissue. A larger area of tissue may need to be removed at a later time.
- Stereotactic biopsy is a common and safe procedure. It does have some risks, though they are rare. These include bleeding, infection and failure to remove the right tissue.
- Ask how you will find out about your results and who will explain them to you. Do this when you schedule your biopsy.
- Follow-up with your healthcare provider.
Having a Stereotactic Breast Biopsy:
When you schedule your biopsy, ask how long it will take. It is common for you to be in the biopsy room for less than an hour. This is to be sure the best samples are taken. If you like, bring a family member with you to the appointment. Though they may not be allowed in the biopsy room, they can offer support. A technologist will stay with you throughout the procedure.
You will undress from the waist up and put on a gown that opens in the front. You will then lie on your stomach on a special table. Your breast is placed through an opening in the table. The skin on your breast is cleansed. It is then numbed with a local anesthetic so you will not feel pain. This may sting slightly. The breast is compressed between two paddles and an x-ray is taken. This x-ray helps to find the exact tissue to be sampled. A small nick is made in the skin. A thin needle is inserted through the nick. The needle is then guided to the biopsy area. The needle is used to remove several tiny samples of breast tissue. After the needle is taken out, a small bandage is placed over the skin wound. You may or may not having a binding or pressure dressing applied for the next 24-hours. This aids in the prevention of bleeding or bruising from the procedure.
Before the Procedure:
Before the biopsy, follow these and other guidelines that you are given:
- Tell the doctor what medications you take (including aspirin and ibuprofen). Ask if and when you should stop taking them.
- Wear a top that is easily removed and a comfortable bra.
- Bathe before the procedure. Do not wear perfume, deodorant, lotion, powder, or any other substances on your skin.
- Try to empty your bladder before the procedure to help you be more comfortable on the table.
After the Procedure:
After the biopsy, follow these and any other guidelines that you are given:
- Take it easy for 24-hours.
- Ask how long you should use an ice pack over the biopsy area, when your bandage can be taken off and when you can take medications (including aspirin and ibuprofen) again.
- You may have a bruise for about 1-2 weeks after the procedure. This is normal. The small nick may cause a tiny scar.
- If you have a fever, excessive bleeding or other problems, call your physician for instructions.