Abnormalities in the breast are often detected by mammography, physical examination or other imaging studies. It is not always possible to tell whether the abnormality detected is benign or cancerous. A breast biopsy is performed to determine a diagnosis. During a biopsy some cells are removed. The cells can be removed surgically or through a less invasive procedure. The less invasive procedure involves a hollow needle. The Needle removes a suspicious area in the breast. It is not designed to remove the entire lesion, but most of a small lesion may be removed in the process.
At Cache Valley Hospital we offer Stereotactic breast biopsies. We use stereotactic mammography guidance with a vacuum-assisted device. The vacuum powered instrument is used to collect multiple tissue samples during one needle insertion. We have a specially designed examination table that will allow you to lie face down with your breast hanging freely through an opening in the table. The table is then raised and the biopsy will be performed under the table. Stereotactic mammography pinpoints the exact location of a breast abnormality by using a computer and images taken from two different angles. The computer coordinates guide the radiologist as he inserts the needle through the skin.
How to Prepare for the Procedure
Wear a two piece outfit. You should not wear deodorant, powder, lotion, or perfume under your arms or on your breasts. You should report all medications you are taking and any allergies you have to your physician. Since you will be lying on your stomach you may want to have only a light meal before the exam. Your physician will advise you to stop taking aspirin or a blood thinner for at least three days before your procedure.
During the Procedure
You will be awake during the biopsy and should have little or no discomfort. Most women report little or no pain and no scarring of their breast. The major discomfort during the procedure for some women is form lying on their stomach. A local anesthetic will be used to numb the skin a slight pin prick from the needle will be felt. The breast will become numb. It is important that you remain still while the biopsy is performed. You may hear clicking from the instrument as breast samples are taken. A small clip will be placed in your breast through the needle at the completion of the biopsy. A mammogram will also be taken on the affected breast.
After the Procedure
A post exam instruction sheet will be given to you. We ask that you do not participate in strenuous activities for 24 hours.
A pathologist will examine the removed specimen and make a final diagnosis. Your referring physician will share the results with you. This usually takes 2-4 days. If you have any questions regarding your stereotactic biopsy please call 435.713.9760.