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Stereotactic Breast Biopsy

Stereotactic breast biopsy is used to take tiny samples of your breast tissue that can be studied under a microscope. This procedure uses X-rays to find the tissue to be removed. It may prevent the need for an open (surgical) biopsy.

Note: This is an invasive exam and will require your consent signature for permission to perform the biopsy procedure.

Woman lying on stereotactic breast biopsy machine, which technician is operating.
Image-guided biopsies that use computer mapping are called stereotactic biopsies.

Before the procedure

  • Tell your healthcare provider what medicines you take (including aspirin and ibuprofen). Ask if and when you should stop taking them.

  • Wear a top that’s easily removed and a comfortable bra.

  • Bathe before the procedure. Do not wear perfume, deodorant, antiperspirant, lotion, powder, or any other substance on your skin.

  • Try to empty your bladder before the procedure. This may help you be more comfortable during the procedure.

During the procedure

  • You undress from the waist up and put on a gown that opens in the front.

  • Depending on the type of equipment used, you either lie on your stomach on a special table or sit upright in front of the machine.

  • For some types of machines, your breast is placed through an opening in the table.

  • The skin on your breast is cleansed and numbed.

  • Your breast is pressed between two flat plates and a low-dose X-ray is taken. The X-ray helps find the exact tissue to be sampled.

  • A needle is then guided to the biopsy area and removes several tiny samples of breast tissue.

  • After the needle is removed, a small bandage is placed on the skin.

  • You can get dressed and go home soon after the procedure is finished.

After the procedure

  • 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 medicine (including aspirin) again.

  • You may have a bruise for about 1 to 2 weeks after the procedure. This is normal. You may also have a tiny scar.

  • If you have fever, excessive bleeding, or other problems, call your healthcare provider.

  • Your healthcare provider will discuss the biopsy results with you when they are ready. Contact your healthcare provider if you haven’t heard the results within 2 weeks.

Author: StayWell Custom Communications
Last Annual Review Date: 6/1/2017
Copyright © The StayWell Company, LLC. except where otherwise noted.
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