You have talked to some of the staff and visited the campus. You know what time you need to arrive the day of the procedure. You feel good about everything but do not really know what to expect. Let’s review a few things you can expect.
After you arrive and before the procedure begins you will be ask to undress from the waist up. You will have to lie facedown on a padded table with a hole in it. You will be adjusted on the bed so your breast will drop into this hole.
At this time the table is raised several feet in the air so that your radiologist will be able to access your breast through the hole in the table. He/she will then use two plates to firmly compress your breast. This allows them to get X-ray pictures of your breast and identify the abnormalities in the breast tissue.
This part of the procedure can take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour. If you have any concerns about having to be in this position on the table for this amount of time feel free to discuss them with your radiologist before he/she begins.
After the proper images are taken, a small area of your breast will be injected with local anesthesia. You should not feel a great deal of pain. (The staff will do all they can to make the procedure as easy on you as possible.) Then, the radiologist will make a small nick in your breast.
A sample of breast tissue will be taken using a needle or a probe attached to a vacuum. Several small tissue samples will be removed and sent to a pathology laboratory for testing. These test will allow your doctor to know what, if any, surgery or treatment is needed. Hopefully, the test will show that there are not serious problems.
After the samples are taken, the doctor or technician will hold pressure to the area to prevent bleeding and then apply surgical tape to keep the area closed and prevent infection. A small metal clip or bracket may be left in the place where the biopsy was done, so it can easily be located again if more testing is needed, or if you go on to have a breast surgery.
After the stereotactic breast biopsy has been completed you should be able to go home.
The samples of your tissue will be sent to a pathology laboratory. It may take up to a week for them to be properly analyzed.
You will be given instructions on how to care for the biopsy site at home. This includes keeping it clean and changing the bandages to prevent infection.
You should contact your doctor if you develop a fever over 100°F or experience redness, warmth, or discharge from the site. These are all signs of infection.
The staff at Outpatient Services East are pleased you have chosen to have your procedure with them. They will do all they can to be sure you will be pleased too.