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What is a Stereotactic Breast Biopsy?

By DuPage Medical Group Radiology

Stereotactic breast biopsy is used to take tiny samples of your breast tissue that can be studied under a microscope. During this procedure, an X-ray helps find the tissue to be removed. This biopsy may prevent the need for an open (surgical) biopsy.

Things to Know

The total appointment including pre and post biopsy counseling and paperwork will require about 90 minutes. The stereotactic biopsy involves compression of the breast. In this way, it is like a mammogram, except the amount of compression is less than during a mammogram.

Stereotactic biopsy is a common and safe procedure. It does have some rare risks. These include bleeding, infection and failure to remove the right tissue. 

The Procedure

When having a stereotactic breast biopsy, you undress from the waist up and put on a gown that opens in the front. You lie on your stomach on a special table. Your breast is placed through an opening in the table. The skin on your breast is cleansed and then numbed with a local anesthetic so you will not feel pain. This may sting slightly. The breast is then pressed between two flat plates. This is done so a low-dose X-ray can be taken. This X-ray helps find the exact tissue to be sampled. A small incision is made in your skin and a thin needle is inserted through the incision. The needle is then guided to the biopsy area. The needle is used to remove several tiny samples of breast tissue. In addition, a tiny metal clip may be placed at the site where the tissue was removed. This is to mark the area of the biopsy internally, and also serves as a marker for future reference. After the needle is taken out, a small bandage is placed on the skin.  You can get dressed and go home soon after the procedure. 

Topics and Subtopics: Diagnostic Testing, Radiology & Women's Health

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