The stereotactic biopsy procedure obtains samples of tissue from the mass with a hollow needle and the help of x-rays.

Who performs the procedure?

The procedure is performed by a Radiologist with the assistance of a Technologist.

Why is the procedure performed?

The procedure is performed when there is a mass detected in the breast with a mammogram. The physician and the patient may not want to perform a surgical method to sample to mass, so they will opt to perform this procedure.

Where is this procedure performed?

This procedure is performed in the Breast Center located in the Weinberg Atrium University of Maryland Medical Center 22 South Greene Street, Baltimore, MD 21201.

Is there any prep for this procedure?

To prepare for a stereotactic biopsy, you should eat a light meal prior to the procedure. You should not wear any perfumes, powder or deodorant on the day of the exam. If you take blood thinners or aspirin, talk to your physician about whether you should discontinue using them prior to the procedure.

What can I expect before the procedure?

Once you arrive at the Breast Center, you will have to register at the front desk. Please have your insurance information ready at this time. After registration, you will be instructed to remove everything from the waist up. Please wear a skirt or slacks to facilitate the change of clothes.

What can I expect during the procedure?

First, the breast area is anesthetized with an injection of lidocaine. You will be lying on your stomach and then the x-rays will begin. The first x-ray locates the abnormality in the breast, after which two stereo views are obtained; each angled 15 degrees to either side of the initial image. The physician then marks the lesion electronically on the stereo images. The computer calculates how much the lesion's position appears to have changed on each of the stereo views, and in this way is able to determine its exact site in three-dimensional space. The biopsy instrument used in this procedure is called a vacuum-assisted device (VAD), which consists of an inner needle with a trough extending from it at one end and an overlying sheath. When the sheath is retracted, a vacuum is used to pull breast tissue into the needle trough. The outer sheath rapidly moves forward to cut the tissue and collect it in the trough.

How long is the procedure?

Plan to be in the office for one hour.

What can I expect after the procedure?

After the biopsy, the skin opening is covered with a dressing. You will need to avoid strenuous activity for 24 hours after returning home, but then usually will be able to resume normal activity. Your results will be sent to your doctor.

Are there any risks to this procedure?

This procedure only removes samples of a mass and not the entire area of concern. Therefore, it is possible that a more serious diagnosis may be missed by limiting the sampling of a mass.

Are there any alternatives to this procedure?

Fine needle aspiration or core needle biopsy can be used as alternatives to this procedure.

How do I schedule an appointment?

Please call 410-328-6281 for a Breast Imaging Specialist to schedule your appointment.

NAPBC: National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers
American College of Radiology: Breast Imaging Center of Excellence