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Stereotactic Breast Biopsy

Stereotactic breast biopsy is used to take tiny samples of your breast tissue that can be studied under a microscope. This procedure uses X-rays to find the tissue to be removed. It may prevent the need for an open (surgical) biopsy.

Woman lying face down on exam table with hospital gown open in front. One breast is through opening in table. Exam table is on top of X-ray machine. Health care provider is sitting at machine.
You may lie down or sit upright, depending on the type of equipment used.

Before the Procedure:

  • Tell your health care provider what medications you take (including aspirin and ibuprofen). Ask if and when you should stop taking them.

  • Wear a top that’s easily removed and a comfortable bra.

  • Bathe before the procedure. Do not wear perfume, deodorant, antiperspirant, lotion, powder, or any other substance on your skin.

  • Try to empty your bladder before the procedure to help you be more comfortable on the table.

The Procedure:

  • You undress from the waist up and put on a gown that opens in the front.

  • You lie on your stomach on a special table.

  • Your breast is placed through an opening in the table. The skin on your breast is cleansed and numbed.

  • The breast is pressed between two flat plates and a low-dose X-ray is taken. The X-ray helps find the exact tissue to be sampled.

  • A needle is then guided to the biopsy area and removes several tiny samples of breast tissue.

  • After the needle is removed, a small bandage is placed on the skin. You can get dressed and go home soon after the procedure is finished.

After the Procedure:

  • Take it easy for 24 hours.

  • Ask how long you should use an ice pack over the biopsy area, when your bandage can be taken off, and when you can take medication (including aspirin) again.

  • You may have a bruise for about one to two weeks after the procedure. This is normal. You may also have a tiny scar.

  • If you have fever, excessive bleeding, or other problems, call your health care provider.

Online Medical Reviewer: Freeborn, Donna, PhD, CNM, FNP
Online Medical Reviewer: newMentor board-certified, academically affiliated clinician
Last Review Date: 9/11/2013
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