STEREOTACTIC BREAST BIOPSY
Lumps or abnormalities in the breast are often detected by physical examination, mammography, or other imaging studies. However, it is not always possible to tell from these imaging tests whether a growth is benign or cancerous.
A breast biopsy is performed to remove some cells—either surgically or through a less invasive procedure involving a hollow needle—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.
Image-guided biopsy is performed when the abnormal area in the breast is too small to be felt, making it difficult to locate the lesion by hand (called palpation).
STEREOTACTIC BREAST BIOPSY
Stereotactic Breast Biopsy is a simple and safe procedure performed in our office on an outpatient basis. Advanced digital imaging technology is used to map the precise location of the area of concern in your breast. This technology allows the Radiologist to remove small needle core samples of the suspicious tissue with pinpoint accuracy. The samples are sent to a pathologist, who specializes in the microscopic analysis of tissue for the purpose of diagnosis.
PRIOR TO YOUR EXAM:
- Discuss any medication you are taking with your physician. You will be asked to discontinue the use of blood-thinning medications, including aspirin and aspirin-like products, prior to your biopsy procedure. If you are taking medications such as heparin, coumadin, Warfarin, or Plavix you will need to check with your doctor who prescribed them about discontinuing their use prior to and after the biopsy day.
- Wear clothing that is comfortable and easy to remove from the waist up. A gown will be provided for your use.
- Do not use deodorant, underarm powders or creams before the procedure. They may interfere with the quality of the images taken during your procedure.
- Eat a light meal before your procedure. Limit your liquids, so that you do not have to use the restroom during the procedure.
- The majority of patients are able to drive themselves to and from this appointment, but some prefer to have a friend or relative accompany them to their appointment.
THE DAY OF YOUR EXAM:
- At the time of your appointment, you will be assisted to a dressing room and provided with a gown and asked to remove your clothing from the waist up.
- A female technologist will position you face down on a specially designed table with your breast placed through an opening in the tabletop. The tabletop will be raised and the Radiologist and technologist will perform the procedure from beneath the table.
- Your breast will be compressed and held in a fixed position to ensure the accuracy of the procedure. X-ray images will be taken, and special computer software will map the exact location where tissue samples will be taken. The skin over the biopsy area will be cleansed, and numbed with a local anesthetic injected into the breast with a small, thin needle. A tiny skin nick will be made just large enough for the biopsy needle to pass through as the tissue samples are taken. You may feel some slight pressure and tugging. A number of needle core tissue samples will be taken to ensure the most accurate diagnosis possible.
- When the procedure is completed, a sterile bandage will be applied over the skin nick. You will be asked to wear a soft supportive bra for 24 hours following the procedure and to apply ice packs intermittently throughout the rest of the day to minimize swelling and bleeding. Stitches are not required for this procedure.
- You should plan on being at our office for about two hours, although the actual biopsy will take approximately one hour. Once you receive instructions concerning the care of the biopsied area, you will be free to dress and leave. You will need to avoid strenuous activity and heavy lifting for 24 hours. Remain off blood thinning medications for 48 hours. You may experience some discomfort and notice some bruising in the biopsied area. This usually disappears within five to seven days and is a normal part of the healing process.