Stereotactic Needle Biopsy

A stereotactic breast biopsy uses mammography to help pinpoint an abnormality in the breast that needs to be biopsied. During stereo imaging, two-dimensional digital images of your breast are taken from two different angles. Both images are sent to a computer for image analysis. The computer compares the data from each image and calculates the three-dimensional location coordinates for your breast abnormality. With such precise information to guide the biopsy needle, the radiologist can accurately sample tissue. This type of biopsy is not designed to remove the entire lesion, only a sample is taken.

How Should I Prepare?

  • Wear a comfortable two-piece outfit as you will be asked to undress from the waist up.
  • Eat a light meal prior to the procedure.
  • Do not wear deodorant, lotion, powder or perfume under your arms or on your breasts the day of the procedure.
  • Bring a list of any medications you are presently taking and any drug allergies. This includes vitamins, blood thinning herbal medication, and over-the-counter medications.
  • Do not take any aspirin or aspirin-like medications (ibuprofen, Motrin®, Advil®, etc.) for five days before your biopsy.
  • If you are on any prescribed aspirin therapy or blood thinning medication talk to your doctor before discontinuing.
  • Bring or wear a tight fitting bra. After the procedure, we will give you an ice pack to be placed in your bra to help minimize swelling and tenderness.

What Should I Expect?

  • Before you arrive, the radiologist will have studied your imaging exams to become familiar with the location of the abnormality.
  • Your breast will be compressed, as in a mammogram, and you will be asked not to move during this time. X-rays will be taken of your breast to locate the area to be biopsied. A small area of your breast will be cleaned. The Radiologist will then numb the biopsy area before inserting the probe.
  • A small incision is then made in the breast, through which a biopsy probe is placed to remove a tissue sample. After obtaining the sample, final x-rays may be taken to ensure the lesion was sufficiently biopsied.
  • After taking the samples, the radiologist may place a tiny clip inside your breast to locate the biopsied area. You will not be able to feel this marker but it will show on future X-rays.
  • When the procedure is complete, the technologist will apply pressure to the biopsy site for several minutes to prevent bleeding. Finally, a steri-strip and a bandage will be applied over the site. You will be given an ice pack to place over the area that was biopsied (do not place ice pack directly on skin).
  • The entire process takes about one hour and the procedure itself only a few minutes

Follow-Up Care

  • After the biopsy, keep an ice pack next to your skin for about 20 minutes. Then, remove it for 10 minutes. Repeat for 1 to 3 hours, depending on how easily you bruise. Placing the ice pack within your bra is the easiest way to keep it in place (do not place ice pack directly on skin). Ice packs are reusable; however, re-chill them only in the refrigerator NOT the FREEZER.
  • Leave the band-aid on until the next morning. At that time, remove the band-aid, leaving the steri-strip (tape over the puncture site) in place.
  • Do not bathe or shower for 24 hours after the breast biopsy. No swimming or hot tub for five days after the biopsy.
  • After 24 hours you may bathe/shower with the steri-strip (tape) in place. The steri-strip will eventually come off in the shower. The edges of the steri-strip can be trimmed if they start to come off. Leave the steri-strip in place until it comes off on its own. Once the steri-strip comes off, it does not need to be replaced.
  • Do not take any Ibuprofen, aspirin or aspirin-containing products for three days after the breast biopsy. You may take Tylenol (one-two tablets every four or six hours) for mild discomfort.
  • For the first 24 hours avoid vigorous arm movements and heavy lifting (more than 10 pounds). If you wish, you may return to work and most activities the next day.

How Do I Get the Results?

A pathologist will examine the tissue specimens and will report the findings to your doctor, usually within 3-5 working days. The results of your biopsy will be made available to you through your referring physician.