A method of obtaining a biopsy of breast tissue using special mammography equipment to precisely locate and draw samples from abnormalities in the breast.
It’s called stereotactic because it uses two images of the same location, taken from different angles. Once the biopsy is collected, it’s sent to a lab to determine whether cancer cells are present or if it is a benign tumor, like a fibroadenoma.
Before the procedure
- One week before: Do not take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like aspirin, ibuprofen, or naproxen for one (1) week prior to the procedure. A nurse will review your medicines before your procedure.
Day of the procedure
- What to wear: Wear a comfortable 2-piece outfit with a supportive bra to your appointment. During the procedure, you will undress from the waist up.
- What not to wear: Do NOT wear deodorant, talcum powder or lotions on your breasts or underarm area.
- What to eat: Eat and drink as normal on the day of your procedure. No need to fast.
- Your approval needed: After you check in, a nurse or radiologist will talk to you about the procedure and answer any questions. You will also be asked to give your informed consent for the procedure.
During the procedure
- Special equipment: A sterotactic breast biopsy is performed on a special mammogram machine, above which is a table with a round opening.
- What to expect:
- You’ll lie on your stomach with your breast suspended in the hole and compressed under the table.
- The mammogram machine uses low-dose x-rays from two angles to precisely find the abnormality.
- We’ll then clean and numb the area with an anesthetic before inserting a needle to draw samples for testing. You shouldn’t feel any pain.
- We’ll then place a tiny metal marker in the site of the biopsy. You won’t feel it in your body, and it is safe inside an MRI. This marker is only used to show doctors who may care for you in the future where the biopsy was taken.
After the procedure
- For pain relief: Apply ice to the breast for 30 minutes, three (3) times on the day of your procedure to relieve swelling and bruising. You may also use acetaminophen (Tylenol) for pain, if needed.
- Take it easy: You may return to work after the procedure, but do not perform any strenuous activities for 24 to 48 hours. (No lifting over 10 pounds.)
- Stay secure: Wear a tight bra for the next 48 hours to aid in decreased movement. This will reduce bleeding. Keep a bandage over the site to prevent the bra from rubbing against it. You may notice bruising in the area of the biopsy. This will usually clear up in a few days.
- What to watch for: If you notice any bleeding, drainage, excessive swelling, pain, redness, or heat around the biopsy area, please call your physician.
The final results of your biopsy are usually available within 3 working days. Your physician will contact you with the results.