Stereotactic Biopsy of the Breast

November 12, 2012

If a lump is found inside of your breast, your doctor, gynecologist or oncologist may suggest that you receive a stereotactic biopsy. This will remove a piece of tissue and liquid from the lump. This tissue can then be checked for any signs of cancer by a pathologist. A stereotactic biopsy combines a mammogram with a biopsy. Unlike a regular mammogram, an anesthetic is used, but you are awake the entire time.

Stereotactic Biopsy of the Breast

A stereotactic biopsy is usually an out-patient procedure and does not require an overnight stay in a hospital. The entire procedure is performed in less than two hours. Women are advised to rest for 24 hours afterwards. There may be a small scar left on the breast as a result of this procedure.

When the Doctor Says You Need the Biopsy

Let your doctor have a list of all of the medications and herbal remedies you are taking, including aspirin and blood thinners. You may have to stop taking some medications for one or two weeks before undergoing a stereotactic biopsy. Let your doctor know if you are pregnant because you will be receiving radiation from the mammogram. This radiation could affect your baby.

Ask your doctor if you need a written prescription for the procedure. Be sure to take this prescription with you to the medical facility where the procedure will be done. You may have to sign some paperwork before the procedure begins.

Getting Ready For Your Biopsy

Do not eat for at least eight hours before your stereotactic biopsy. Wear a top that can be easily removed, because you will need to be naked from the waist up for the procedure. Avoid wearing jewelry, including earrings. If you wear spectacles, hearing aids or a dental implant, tell your radiologist. These may need to be removed for the procedure.

Do not wear any perfume, body lotion, body powder or underarm deodorant. You can bring a small pillow with you, since the procedure may be done lying on your belly.

The Procedure

You will be given a local anesthesia and perhaps a muscle relaxant. You will lie down on a table with an opening at your chest area. Below the table is a mammography compression plate. It rises to squeeze your breast. You need to stay still as the mammography pictures are being taken. Once the medical personnel locates the exact position of the lump in question, they perform the biopsy under the table. They may use a needle, a vacuum-like device or both.

When it’s over, you are free to go. A pathologist may be able to read the results right away, but usually you will need to schedule an appointment with your doctor to be told your test results.


  • breast
  • stereotactic breast biopsy procedure

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