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Stereotactic Breast Biopsy


Stereotactic breast biopsy uses digital mammography to help locate a breast lump or abnormality and remove a tissue sample for examination under a microscope to determine diagnosis. Breast biopsies are usually done on an outpatient basis and performed by a specially trained radiologist in the Silver Cross Center for Women’s Health. It’s less invasive than surgical biopsy, leaves little to no scarring and can be an excellent way to evaluate calcium deposits or tiny masses that are not visible on ultrasound.


How is the Procedure Performed?

You will be seated in front of the stereotactic mammography unit. The breast is compressed and held in position throughout the procedure. Preliminary stereotactic mammogram images are taken. A local anesthetic will be injected into the breast to numb it. The radiologist then inserts the very small biopsy needle and advances it to the location of the abnormality using the mammogram and computer generated coordinates. Mammogram images are again obtained to confirm that the needle is within the lesion.

Tissue samples are then removed from the breast using a vacuum-assisted device. Without withdrawing and reinserting the needle, it rotates positions and collects additional samples.

After the sampling, the needle will be removed. A final set of images will be taken. A small marker may be placed at the biopsy site so that it can be located in the future if necessary.

Once the biopsy is complete, pressure will be applied to stop any bleeding and the opening in the skin is covered with a dressing. No sutures are needed.

A mammogram may be performed to confirm that the marker is in the proper position. This procedure is usually completed within an hour. Recovery time is brief and patients can soon resume their usual activities.

Who Interprets the Results and How do I get Them?

A pathologist examines the removed specimen and makes a final diagnosis.

Follow-up examinations may be necessary. Sometimes a follow-up exam is done because a suspicious or questionable finding needs clarification with additional views or a special imaging technique. A follow-up examination may also be necessary so that any change in a known abnormality can be monitored over time.

Our Certified Breast Care Nurse is available to answer any questions and guide you in the next steps of your care.

A physician’s order is required for a stereotactic breast biopsy, and it can be scheduled with our Breast Care Nurse at (815) 300-6364.