Stereotactic Breast Biopsy

A stereotactic breast biopsy is the removal of breast tissue to examine it for signs of breast cancer or other disorders. Stereotactic breast biopsy uses mammography to help pinpoint the spot in the breast that needs to be removed. The biopsy itself is done using one of the following:

  • Fine needle aspiration
  • Hollow needle (called a core needle)
  • Vacuum-powered device
  • Both a needle and vacuum-powered device

Offered at: Johnston Health Ambulatory Imaging and Johnston Health Clayton Ambulatory Imaging

What to Expect

During a stereotactic breast biopsy, your physician will clean the area on your breast and inject a numbing medicine, which may sting slightly. The breast is pressed down to hold it in position during the procedure, and you will need to hold still while the biopsy is being performed. Your physician will make a very small cut on your breast over the area that needs to be biopsied. Using a special machine, a needle or sheath is guided to the exact location of the abnormal area, and several samples of breast tissue will be taken. A small metal clip may be placed into the breast in the biopsy area. The clip marks it for surgical biopsy later, if needed.

The full procedure will take about one hour. After the tissue sample has been taken, the catheter or needle will be removed. Ice and pressure are applied to the site to stop any bleeding, and a bandage will be applied to absorb any fluid. Stitches are not needed. Adhesive strips may be placed over any wound, if needed.

How to Prepare

Prior to the biopsy, your physician will ask about your medical history and a breast exam may be done. If you take medicines (including aspirin or herbal remedies), ask your doctor whether you need to stop taking these before the biopsy. Tell your doctor if you may be pregnant before having an open biopsy. Do not use lotion, perfume, powder, or deodorant underneath your arms or on your breasts.

Please click below for more preparation details, and be sure to follow any individual instructions from your physician.