Stereotactic biopsy or X-ray guided biopsy allows a physician and technologist to use a large needle to obtain a sample of breast tissue that was deemed to be suspicious after a mammogram or other breast imaging exam. A stereotactic biopsy is most likely to be used when a mammogram shows a group of microcalcifications or an abnormal spot that cannot be felt during a breast exam.
During a Stereotactic Biopsy:
- You will be asked to lie face down on a special table.
- Your breast will be positioned through a special round opening in the table and then the table will be elevated so the radiologist and the technologist can work from below.
- The first part of the procedure will seem much like a mammogram, except you are lying down instead of standing.
- An image will be obtained to ensure that the area of the breast containing the abnormality is correctly centered in the window.
- When the position is confirmed, two stereo radiographs will be obtained. They are called "stereo" because they are images of the same area from different angles. With the assistance of a computer, the exact position for placing the biopsy needle is determined from these images.
- Using this information, the physician will then position the device, which holds the biopsy needle, for the correct angle of entry.
- The physician will numb the biopsy area by injecting a local anesthetic into your breast, using a small needle.
- After the local anesthetic has taken effect, the physician will insert the biopsy needle into your breast.
- Another set of stereo radiographs will be obtained to confirm proper needle placement. If the needle is not positioned at the abnormality, it will be repositioned and the imaging process repeated.
- Once placement is confirmed, you will be asked to hold very still while the tissue samples are obtained.
- The sample is withdrawn and several more samples of the area are retreieved.
- When the physician has confirmed that all the correct samples have been retrieved, a titanium clip will be deployed into the biopsy site.
- A set of stereo radiographs will be obtained to confirm proper clip placement. This clip will mark the biopsy site for future reference in mammograms.
- A post-procedure mammogram will be obtained to document the deployment of the clip and removal of tissue samples.
- Afterwards, a dressing will be applied and you will be sent home.