Stereotactic Breast Biopsy Overview

Stereotactic Breast Biopsy

Stereotactic Breast Biopsy Overview

Stereotactic breast biopsy is a minimally invasive technique in which a sample of suspicious breast tissue is precisely located with a computer-guided imaging system and removed with a needle. This type of breast biopsy is used to confirm whether a breast abnormality is cancerous or not.

What happens during a stereotactic breast biopsy?

Breast biopsies are usually performed on an outpatient basis.

You will lie face down on a moveable exam table and the affected breast or breasts will be positioned into openings in the table. The table is then raised and the procedure is performed beneath it. The breast is compressed and held in position throughout the procedure.

A local anesthetic will be injected into the breast to numb it. Several stereotactic pairs of X-ray images are taken. A very small nick is made in the skin at the site where the biopsy needle is to be inserted.

The radiologist inserts the needle and advances it to the location of the abnormality using the X-ray and computer-generated coordinates. X-ray images are again obtained to confirm that the needle tip is actually within the lesion.

Tissue samples are removed with a vacuum-assisted device (VAD), using vacuum pressure to pull tissue from the breast through the needle into the sampling chamber. Without withdrawing and reinserting the needle, it rotates positions and collects additional samples. Typically, 8 to 10 samples of tissue are collected from around the lesion.

After the sampling, the needle is removed. A final set of images are taken. A small marker may be placed at the site so that it can be located in the future, if necessary.

Once the biopsy is complete, pressure is applied to stop any bleeding, and the opening in the skin is covered with a dressing. No sutures are needed. A mammogram may be performed to confirm that the marker is in the proper position.

How do I prepare for a stereotactic breast biopsy?

On the day of your procedure, do not wear any deodorant, talcum powder or lotion in the breast or underarm area. Please bring any prior mammography films you may have and give them to the technologists before your study begins.

Tell the technologist if you have implants or any pain, lumps or nipple discharge. As with all radiological procedures, you should inform the technologist if you may be pregnant or if you are nursing.

For Northwestern Medicine Lake Forest Hospital Diagnostic Imaging, call 847.535.8000.

Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital and Northwestern Medicine Delnor Hospital are proud to be accredited by the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers (NAPBC). This prestigious accreditation, sponsored by the American College of Surgeons, is the seal of approval for comprehensive breast health programs, and formally acknowledges our commitment to providing the highest quality evaluation and management of patients with breast disease.

Central DuPage Hospital and Delnor Hospital are also designated as Breast Imaging Centers of Excellence by the American College of Radiology (ACR).

For Breast Health Services, call 630.933.5000.