A stereotactic breast biopsy is performed if an abnormality in the breast has been identified by a mammogram. Its purpose is to determine if a small mass is cancerous or not. Although 70-80% of abnormalities found are benign, a biopsy is the only way to be sure.
The stereotactic breast biopsy is a low-radiation, outpatient procedure that can replace biopsy surgery, which can be more painful, costly and involve a longer recovery time. Through stereotactic, which means "precise location in space," a small needle is inserted into the breast to remove a sample of the abnormal tissue.
The woman lies on her stomach with the breast suspended through an opening in the biopsy table. The table is then elevated so the surgeon or radiologist can perform the biopsy from below. The breast is compressed, similar to a conventional mammogram. With the use of advanced computer imaging technology, x-ray images are obtained using a two-inch square digital detector instead of an x-ray film. The images that are used to guide the biopsy procedure are displayed on a computer monitor within seconds. Using digital imaging technology cuts the procedure time in half.
The tissue sample is then sent to the Pathology department for a diagnosis. The results are sent to your doctor within 48 hours.
Patients should allow two hours for this exam, which encompasses questions and answers, discussion, positioning and completing the procedure.
For more information, call Ron Shimonis, Medical Imaging director, at (708) 681-3200 ext. 4987.