What is an Stereotactic Breast Biopsy?
A stereotactic-guided breast biopsy is a minimally invasive procedure that uses a small hollow needle to sample breast tissue using mammography as guidance. The tissue is sent to a laboratory to be analyzed by pathology for a diagnosis. These results help determine the most effective follow up breast care.
How should I prepare for my biopsy?
Prior to your biopsy please let us know if you take a blood thinner or have any allergies. On rare occasions, it may be recommended to discontinue the use of a blood thinner such as Warfarin or Coumadin prior to the biopsy.
The appointment will take approximately one hour. This includes time to review the procedure, answer questions, obtain a written consent, and provide recommendations on how to care for the area after the biopsy. We recommend you dress comfortably and bring a supportive bra, such as a sports bra, to wear after the biopsy.
You may choose to have a family member or friend come with you to the appointment. They will be asked to remain in the waiting room as only clinical staff are allowed in the exam room.
What to expect during my biopsy?
We will guide you to a dressing room where you will be provided with a warm gown and remove clothing from the waist up. For your comfort essential oils, warm blankets and water are available.
You will be seated upright for the biopsy with your breast positioned and compressed similar to a mammogram. We will assist in positioning you as comfortably as possible. Once positioned, your breast will
be cleaned with an antiseptic solution and the radiologist will inject a local anesthetic. You may feel a small sting as the area is numbed; your breast may feel numb for a few hours.
The radiologist will then make a small incision in the skin where a biopsy needle is placed in the area being sampled. The needle has suction attached that removes approximately 5-10 samples, each about the size of a grain of rice. Images are taken throughout the exam to confirm the location and placement of the biopsy needle.
Once the area has been adequately sampled a small metal marker clip is placed at the biopsy site. This confirms the correct area was sampled and identifies the area for future imaging or if additional follow up is recommended.
What happens after my biopsy?
To minimize possible bleeding and bruising firm pressure is applied for five to ten minutes, after which steri-strips will be placed over the incision. A gentle mammogram with minimal compression will be performed to confirm placement of the marker clip. You will receive a small reusable ice pack to place in your bra before you leave.
Care after your biopsy:
Usually women are able to return to their normal daily routine and can safely drive themselves after the procedure. A pain reliever may be taken every 4-6 hours as needed over the next few days.
For the first 24 hours we recommend you wear a supportive bra, reuse the ice pack for 15-20 minutes at a time, refrain from heavy lifting or strenuous activities and keep the area dry. You may shower the day after your biopsy but do not submerge your breast in water until it has healed.
There will be two bandages applied after the biopsy. The outer bandage may be taken off 24 hours after the biopsy. The steri-strips should remain on for several days until they begin to wear off. If they come off sooner than five days replace them with the extra bandages received in your after-care packet.
If you notice bleeding at the biopsy site, apply firm pressure over the area for 15 minutes. Please contact us if you have any bleeding that does not stop with pressure.
Bruising at the site is normal and may take a few weeks to go away. You may also feel a lump at the biopsy site which is a normal part of the healing process and should go away after a few weeks.
When will I receive my biopsy results?
Biopsy results are typically available the following business day. If the biopsy is done on a Friday the results may be available Monday. The radiologist, a CRL staff member, or your provider will call you with results. If follow-up is recommended we will work with you and your primary care provider to offer guidance.
When should I call CRL Women’s Imaging?
If you have any bleeding that does not stop after applying pressure, or if you have signs of infection such as swelling, redness, warmth, pain or a fever please call us right away.
The patient navigator can be reached Monday – Friday between 8:00am – 4:00pm:
After office hours or on the weekend contact the radiologist on call:
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