Healthcare Services and Programs

What is a sterotactic breast biopsy?
Sterotactic breast biopsy is a non-surgical method of removing tissue from a suspected abnormality in your breast. It is most often done on an outpatient basis. The entire procedure is done through a tiny nick in the skin.

Who should have a sterotactic breast biopsy?
Your doctor may recommend this procedure if a mammogram shows a suspicious mass or calcification in your breast.

How often should you have a sterotactic breast biopsy?
As recommended by your physician.

How do you prepare for a sterotactic breast biopsy?
Discontinue any medications which might slow blood clotting - such as aspirin and some other anti-inflammatory medications for one week prior to your appointment. Don't stop taking prescription medication, however, without first talking to your doctor. Wear comfortable clothing. You may eat a light breakfast.

What happens during the procedure?
After removing your clothing from the waist up, you'll lie down with your breast suspended through an opening in the table. The table is then elevated and your breast is compressed similar to a mammogram. The biopsy site will be marked with a felt-tip pen before your breast is cleaned with a sterile solution and given a local anesthetic. A small incision is made and the biopsy instrument is inserted. Images will be taken throughout the process. It's very important that you stay totally still during the procedure, which usually takes less than one hour. The radiologist will send the biopsy sample to a pathologist for interpretation.

What happens after the procedure?
A nurse will cover the incision site with a small bandage and apply pressure to make sure any bleeding has stopped. You may go home immediately following the procedure. At home, you may apply ice or take Tylenol for breast bruising or discomfort, which may continue for several days. But avoid aspirin or other medications (such as ibuprofen and naproxen), which might slow blood clotting. Avoid strenuous activity and lifting (nothing over five pounds) for 24 hours after the biopsy. Call your doctor if you have any marked discomfort or significant bleeding after the biopsy.

What are the benefits of a sterotactic breast biopsy?
A sterotactic breast biopsy is quicker and less uncomfortable than a traditional surgical biopsy. It minimizes scarring, has fewer side effects and the recovery period is minimal.

What are the risks of a sterotactic breast biopsy?
Risks of sterotactic breast biopsy are minimal. There is the slight possibility of pain, bleeding, infection and failure to diagnose the abnormality.