Stereotactic core needle breast biopsy

Biopsy without surgery!

A breast biopsy is performed to remove some cells from a suspicious area in the breast and examine them under a microscope to determine a diagnosis. Image-guided needle biopsy is not designed to remove the entire lesion, but most of a very small lesion may be removed in the process of biopsy. In stereotactic breast biopsy, a special mammography machine uses ionizing radiation to help guide the radiologist's instruments to the site of the abnormality.

Please bring any previous mammograms or ultrasound you may have with you on the day of your examination.


You can eat and drink normally before the procedure. You should report to your doctor all medications that you are taking and if you have any allergies, especially to anesthesia. Your physician will advise you to stop taking aspirin or a blood thinner three days before your procedure.

Procedure: You may be asked to remove some of your clothes. You may also be asked to remove any metal objects that might interfere with the x-ray images. You will then lie face down on a moveable exam table and the affected breast or breasts will be positioned into openings in the table. The table is then raised and the procedure is then performed beneath it. The breast is compressed and held in position throughout the procedure. A local anesthetic will be injected into the breast to numb it. Several stereotactic pairs of x-ray images are taken. A very small nick is made in the skin at the site where the biopsy needle is to be inserted. The radiologist then inserts the needle and advances it to the location of the abnormality using the x-ray and computer generated coordinates. X-ray images are again obtained to confirm that the needle tip is actually within the lesion. You must remain still while the biopsy is performed. During the procedure you will experience a slight pin prick from the needle when you receive the local anesthetic to numb the skin. You may also feel some pressure when the biopsy needle is inserted. After the sampling, the needle will be removed. A small marker may be placed at the site so that it can be located in the future if necessary. Once the biopsy is complete, pressure will be applied to stop any bleeding and the opening in the skin is covered with a dressing. No sutures are needed. A mammogram may be performed to confirm that the marker is in the proper position. This procedure is usually completed within an hour.

After biopsy: Most women report little or no pain and no scarring on the breast. If you experience swelling and bruising following your biopsy, you may be instructed to take an over-the-counter pain reliever and to use a cold pack. Temporary bruising is normal. You should contact your physician if you experience excessive swelling, bleeding, drainage, redness or heat in the breast. You should avoid strenuous activity for 24 hours after returning home, but then usually will be able to resume normal activities.