What Is a Stereotactic Breast Biopsy

A stereotactic breast biopsy is a procedure that uses mammography to precisely identify and biopsy an abnormality within the breast.

It is normally done when the radiologist sees a suspicious abnormality on your mammogram that can’t be felt in a physical exam. This procedure will help determine whether or not you have breast cancer or any other concerning abnormalities in your breast.

Stereotactic breast biopsies use mammographic X-rays to locate and target the area of concern and to help guide the biopsy needle to a precise location. This technique helps ensure that the area that is biopsied is the exact area where the abnormality was seen on the mammogram. It is called stereotactic because it utilizes two images taken from slightly different angles of the same location. After the sample is collected it is sent to a pathology lab to determine if there are cancer cells present.

A breast biopsy is typically done to investigate irregularities (such as a lump) in the breast. Breast lumps are often benign but it is important that you find out for sure.

A breast biopsy is typically done if your doctor becomes concerned following a mammogram or breast ultrasound. Your doctor may also order these tests if a lump was discovered during a physical exam.

This form of breast biopsy — called stereotactic — is often used when small growths or accumulations of calcium called calcifications are detected on a mammogram, but do not appear on an ultrasound and cannot be felt on a physical exam of the breast. It is less invasive than a surgical biopsy, requires less recovery time, and causes minimal scarring.

A stereotactic breast biopsy is a relatively simple and low-risk procedure. However, it does carry these risks:

  • bruising and swelling of the breast
  • infection of the biopsy site
  • soreness at the injection site

If you follow your doctor’s instructions on how to care for your wound, you will greatly reduce your risk of infection.

Complications from a biopsy are rare. The benefits from this procedure far outweigh any risk involved. Remember, the quicker breast cancer is detected, the faster your treatment can begin.

Before your breast biopsy, tell your doctor about any allergies you have, especially any history of problems with anesthesia. You also need to let him/her know about  all medications you are taking, including any over-the-counter drugs.

During the test, you could be lying on your stomach for up to an hour. If you think this may be a problem for you discuss it with the person doing the procedure before he/she begins procedure.

You’ll be asked to change into a hospital gown. You should avoid using moisturizer on your breast and remove all jewelry and any body piercings before the biopsy.

You might be given a cold pack after the procedure to help with pain and inflammation. Wear a bra to help keep the cold pack in place.

If your doctor has recommended you have a stereotactic breast biopsy ask him/her to schedule the procedure to be performed at Outpatient Services East. You will receive the care you need and deserve.

For more information about Outpatient Services East you can call them at 205-838-3888 or visit them on the web at www.osesurg.com.

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