Stereotactic breast biopsy is one of several minimally invasive, image-guided methods of inserting a small, hollow needle into the breast to extract a sample of tissue that has been identified as suspicious in a breast screening or diagnostic exam, such as a mammogram. In stereotactic breast biopsy, the radiologist uses X-ray images from a specially designed mammography unit to guide the needle to the suspicious area for tissue extraction.
Currently, most breast biopsies are performed as needle biopsies under imaging guidance. Medical studies have shown that needle biopsies are as accurate as open surgical biopsies but are less invasive, have fewer complications and lead to less scarring. Like all image-guided breast biopsy procedures, stereotactic breast biopsy is a simple, minimally invasive outpatient procedure that uses a small incision and involves minimal discomfort for the patient. It is an especially effective biopsy method in situations in which calcium deposits or very small masses are present that would not be visible if ultrasound guidance were used.
During a stereotactic breast biopsy, digital images are obtained to localize the suspicious area in the breast. After administering a local anesthetic, the radiologist will make a small incision and insert the biopsy needle, using X-ray images to guide its placement to the tissue to be sampled. After the procedure, your incision will be covered with a small bandage, and you should be able to resume normal activities after about 24 hours.