It is not
always possible to tell from a mammogram whether a growth is benign or
cancerous. In some instances we will perform a stereotactic breast biopsy so we
can remove some cells with a needle for examination under a microscope.
Stereotactic technology involves a special mammography machine that uses
ionizing radiation to help guide a needle to the site of the abnormal growth.
For Your Safety
If you are considering a stereotactic breast biopsy, if there
is any possibility that you are pregnant, inform your physician or the technologist performing the exam. Some procedures using image-guidance
are typically not performed during pregnancy because radiation can be harmful
to the fetus.
Preparing for a Stereotactic Breast Biopsy
- You may be asked to remove some, or all, of your clothes and to wear a gown during the exam. You may also be asked to remove jewelry, removable dental appliances, eye glasses and any metal objects or clothing that might interfere with the x-ray images.
- You should not wear deodorant, powder, lotion or perfume under your arms or on your breasts on the day of the exam.
- Prior to a needle biopsy, you should report to your doctor all medications that you are taking, including herbal supplements, 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. Also, inform your doctor about recent illnesses or other medical conditions.
- You may want to have a relative or friend accompany you and drive you home afterward. This is recommended if you have been sedated.
What to Expect During a Stereotactic Breast Biopsy
The doctor or technologist will clean the skin over the area for examination.
He or she will then inject a medication to numb the area using a very small
needle. Several images of the area are then taken after which a biopsy needle
is inserted into the site. A second set of pictures is then taken to ensure the
needle is in the correct position. A sample of the tissue is extracted through
the needle and examined to determine if the cells are cancerous.
A radiologist will review your exam images and report the findings to your
doctor. Your doctor will then discuss the findings and next steps with you.