If an area of concern on mammogram cannot be felt or is very small, a stereotactic biopsy may be recommended for you. A stereotactic biopsy is often recommended to biopsy microcalcifications seen on mammogram. The biopsy is performed by a radiologist or a surgeon using a specially designed table, which has a mammography machine (using two cameras, hence the name "stereotactic" biopsy), a biopsy device and a computer. The procedure is an outpatient procedure and takes about 45 minutes. You may eat and drink normally prior to the procedure. Most patients return to their normal activities afterwards
You will be comfortably lying on your stomach with your breast tissue coming through an opening in the table. The biopsy and imaging equipment is located below the table. Your breast in compressed with paddles similar to a mammogram to stabilize the breast tissue. It is very important to stay as still as possible throughout the procedure. The compression needed is not as tight as is necessary for a mammogram. One of the paddles has a "window" through which the biopsy is performed. After the area of concern is identified, the radiologist enters information into a computer that calculates where the needle should be directed to obtain the appropriate tissue and the area is cleaned with antiseptic and injected with a local anesthetic. Once the anesthetic takes effect, an instrument moves the biopsy needle into position and removes several samples of the tissue. A very small stainless steel clip is placed to mark the area of biopsy and several films may be taken after the biopsy, to confirm that the appropriate tissue was obtained and the clip is visualized.
After the biopsy is completed, a small bandage/band-aid will be placed over the biopsy site and you will be given a small ice pack and post-procedure instructions.
The biopsy sample will be sent to the pathology lab for evaluation. The pathologist will send the referring physician a full report and your physician will be in contact with you so that you can be informed as quickly as possible regarding your results.
Infection is rare with stereotactic biopsy; however, there is a small possibility a hematoma (bruise - a collection of blood under the skin) may occur. It is very important that you stop taking any ibuprofen, aspirin containing products or blood thinners for 4-7 days prior to your biopsy.
If you have any questions regarding your procedure, please feel free to call our Nurse Navigator, Linda Walton @ 443-436-1046.