Understanding Stereotatic Breast Biopsy

Understanding Stereotactic Breast Biopsy

Understanding Stereotactic Breast Biopsy

What is a breast biopsy?

A biopsy involves the removal of a small sample of tissue from the breast so that it can be analyzed for atypical cells. Your doctor might recommend a biopsy if there has been an abnormality noted on your mammogram. Most breast biopsies reveal the suspicious spot to be benign, or non-cancerous.

What is stereotactic breast biopsy?


Stereotactic breast biopsy is a minimally invasive method of taking a sample of the breast tissue. Stereotactic refers to using two or more simultaneous X-ray views to target the area with pinpoint accuracy. This method of biopsy allows your doctor to remove a sample of tissue quickly through a small puncture with little discomfort to you.

What are the risks of stereotactic breast biopsy?

Your doctor will discuss with you the risks relative to your particular case, but possible complications generally include:

  • Reaction to the local anesthetic
  • Infection of biopsy site

How do I prepare for my biopsy?

Your doctor will tell you what you may have to eat or drink before your biopsy, but generally you will be asked to eat lightly and avoid alcohol.

  • You will be asked to refrain from taking blood thinners, including aspirin and ibuprofen.
  • Do not wear deodorant, lotion or powder to the hospital. These items can show on your X-rays and confuse the findings.
  • Wear loose, comfortable clothing.

How is the biopsy done?

You will be asked to lie face-down on a special table. The table has an opening allowing access to your breast.

  1. When the X-rays of your breast have been taken, your doctor will cleanse your skin with an antibacterial soap, then numb the skin with a local anesthetic.
  2. After your skin is numb, a hollow needle will be advanced to the exact spot indicated by the stereotactic x-ray views, and the tissue will be withdrawn in the needle.
  3. After the tissue has been sampled, 10 minutes of pressure is applied then adhesive strips will be applied to your biopsy site. The entire procedure is fast and relatively painless.

What happens after my biopsy?

Most patients will be discharged from the facility soon after their biopsy and may return to normal activities. Your doctor will give you specific instructions regarding wound care. Be sure to call your doctor's office to schedule a follow-up appointment.

  • Wound should be kept dry for the first couple of days.
  • Adhesive strips should remain in place until they begin to peel off, usually in 5-7 days.
  • It is not unusual to have a little bruising around the biopsy site. Call your doctor immediately if you have a fever or notice drainage or redness at the biopsy site.

Be a partner in your health decisions

Women must be their own best advocates and take responsibility for their health. A good way to do that is by committing to routine screening exams, such as Pap smears and mammograms, as recommended by your doctor.

Call the Women's Health Imaging Center to schedule your appointment
 for your mammogram, bone density test, ultrasound exam, breast biopsy or automated whole breast volume scan (ABVS).

Women's Health Imaging Center