Stereotactic Breast Biopsy

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We offer the full breadth of services to screen for and diagnose breast cancer. To learn more about breast imaging services, call 310-301-6800.

Stereotactic Mammography Guided Breast Biopsy is considered a minimally invasive alternative to surgical biopsy. It is completed on an outpatient basis with minimal discomfort and recovery time. You will be awake throughout the procedure. Biopsies are the only definitive way to confirm that a breast abnormality is benign (non-cancerous) or cancerous.

What to Expect

  • The procedure takes up to 2 hours; however, most of that time is for preparation and setup.
  • You will lie on your stomach on a special table with a hole through which the breast is placed and aligned with the imaging unit beneath. The table will be elevated so the imaging physician and the technologist can work from below. Alternatively, you may be in the sitting position.
  • The radiologist performing the procedure will have studied your mammogram to become familiar with the location of the abnormal tissue in your breast.
  • A confirming x-ray is taken to insure that the breast is positioned correctly.
  • The skin on your breast will be cleaned; then a local anesthetic is injected with very fine needle. You may feel a slight sting.
  • Your breast will be slightly compressed, just as in a mammogram.
  • A small nick is made in your skin and a thin, hollow needle is inserted through the nick. Because of the local anesthetic, most patients report only a small amount of pressure during the biopsy.
  • The radiologist will use the computerized imaging system to precisely guide the needle to the biopsy area where several small samples will be taken.
  • When the radiologist has confirmed that adequate samples have been retrieved, a microclip will be deployed into the biopsy site. The microclip will mark the biopsy site for future reference.
  • After the needle is removed, compression will be applied to stop any bleeding and the site will be covered with sterile steri-stripes. This procedure requires no stitches. An ice pack will also be applied.

After the Procedure

  • Before leaving the department, you'll be given instructions for biopsy aftercare that are specific to your individual needs. Your breast should heal quickly, leaving almost no sign of the procedure.
  • If you have not been contacted with your results within 4 days, please contact the physician who ordered the biopsy for results.

It is important to remember that 70% to 80% of all breast biopsies are benign (not cancer).