Breast Biopsy (Stereotactic/Core)

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Stereotactic Biopsy (Core Biopsy) is a minimally invasive interventional breast biopsy done to obtain small samples of tissue without surgery. This procedure is performed in an outpatient setting.

Need to Know

Nice to Know
  • If you take blood thinners, talk to your doctor beforehand about adjusting or stopping this medication
  • Wear comfortable loose clothing and wear/bring a supportive bra (sports bra)
  • Allow about one hour for your procedure – this includes the pre and post procedure care
  • Inform us of any allergies to latex or lidocaine and any current use of blood thinning medications (temporarily stopped)
  • You will receive post procedure instructions including what to do if you experience swelling and bruising following your biopsy or experience discomfort not resolved with non-aspirin pain relief
  • The Radiologist, Nurse Navigator or your Breast Surgeon will contact you with the results as they are available
  • The breast will be numbed and the staff will closely monitor for any discomfort. The biopsy equipment can directly inject numbing medication to the biopsy site during the procedure
  • The biopsy core needle will be inside your breast for only a few minutes just to extract the tissue and then removed. Much of the time allotted for this procedure is for explaining the procedure and obtaining consent, imaging and targeting of the area and the post care
  • Stereotactic Biopsies will not leave a scar on your breast and because such a small amount of tissue is removed your breast will not appear any different than before the biopsy


Why is This Exam Done?

A Stereotactic Biopsy can locate and sample micro-calcifications, which are tiny clusters of small calcium deposits in the breast tissue, a distortion in the breast structure or an area of abnormal change in the breast tissue. The Stereotactic equipment can pinpoint the exact location in the breast by using a computer and x-rays taken from two different angles. Using these computer coordinates, the radiologist inserts the needle through the skin, advances it into the area removing tissue samples.

What Will Happen During the Exam?

  • You will lie on a padded table on your stomach with your breast suspended through a hole in the table
  • The table will be raised and the staff will work from below to perform the biopsy
  • Images will be taken to locate the area and guide insertion of the needle
  • A small nick will be made in your breast to accommodate a biopsy needle that will be moved to the targeted area for sampling
  • Images will be obtained to confirm that the needle tip is within the lesion (targeted)
  • Small threads of tissue will be removed from your breast through the biopsy needle which will remain in your breast as the samples are taken
  • If the biopsy is to target calcifications in your breast, the tissue samples will be imaged to ensure that the calcifications are present in the sample
  • A very small surgical clip will be left in your breast post-procedure as a future identifier of the area. This cannot be felt, does not cause pain and will not interfere with any surveillance (metal detector)
  • Pressure is applied to the biopsy site for a few minutes, a bandage is applied and cold/ice packs provided. No sutures (stiches) are needed
  • The tissue samples will be sent for pathology with the result typically obtained within 24-36 hours
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How Should I Prepare?

  • There are no diet restrictions, eat and drink as usual
  • You may perform normal daily activities prior to the procedure
  • Take usual medications on exam day unless asked not to
  • Aspirin or anticoagulants increase the risk for bleeding and bruising. You may be asked to stop using them for a few days prior to the procedure
  • Herbal substances that affect bleeding, such as Gingko biloba, should be stopped prior to the procedure
  • Inform the staff if there is a chance of pregnancy
  • You will be asked to remove everything from the waist up and will wear a gown that opens in the front
  • For your comfort, you may want to remove and leave at home any earrings or necklaces
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What Are the Benefits and Risks?

The benefits of Breast Biopsy (Stereotactic/Core):

  • Procedure is less invasive than surgical biopsy, leaves little or no scarring and removes far less tissue than a surgical biopsy would
  • Results are as accurate as tissue sampled by surgical biopsy
  • Biopsy can be performed in less than an hour as an outpatient procedure
  • Evaluate calcifications (calcium deposits) or tiny masses not visible with ultrasound

Risks you should be aware of:

  • Hematoma, or a collection of blood at the biopsy site can occur in less than one percent of patients
  • Infection - Any procedure where the skin is penetrated carries a risk of infection. Less than 1 in 1,000 patients
  • Difficult to target lesions near the chest wall – surgical biopsy would be alternative
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Where Can I Get This Exam?

We perform core breast biopsies in our Farmington office.

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