Stereotactic vacuum-assisted biopsy
Stereotactic breast biopsy removes tiny samples of breast tissue through a special needle. This procedure can be performed when an abnormality is seen clearly on mammography. It is commonly performed for clusters of calcifications and masses.
Though stereotactic biopsy works well for nearly all patients, there are a few cases in which a woman should have a traditional surgical biopsy.
During the Procedure
Stereotactic breast biopsy takes approximately 90 minutes, however the procedure may take longer depending on your individual needs.
A radiologist will use a digital mammogram image to accurately locate the abnormality. The breast area is numbed with a local anesthetic. You will lie on your stomach on a special table with your breast positioned through an opening in the table. A small incision (approximately 3-4 mm) is made, a needle is advanced into the breast, and several small tissue samples are removed.
A tiny clip may be inserted though the needle to mark the site, so that, if necessary, it can be easily located in the future. Immediately following the procedure, a nurse applies pressure to the area for a short time and then covers the site with a small dressing.
After the Procedure/Getting Your Results
Please do not perform vigorous activity (e.g., aerobic exercise, climbing, vacuuming) through the following day and do not shower for the next 24 hours. You may experience some discomfort and minimal bruising. The small incision where the needle entered the skin, and any bruising, usually disappear within a few weeks.
Tissue samples will be sent to the lab for further evaluation by a pathologist. Your procedure results will be available from your doctor in approximately 2-3 business days. Many biopsy samples are benign and do not need any more testing or treatment.