Banner Health Services  


Stereotactic Breast Biopsy

This page is for information purposes only.  For advice and specific questions please contact your primary care or referring physician.

About Stereotactic Breast Biopsy  

A stereotactic breast biopsy is a minimally invasive breast biopsy performed when there is a suspicious area on your mammogram. Although the actual biopsy time is only about 20 minutes, the procedure from start to finish last about one and half hours.

A small amount of tissue is removed under local anesthetic with a special biopsy needle. The needle is placed in the breast under X-ray guidance. A computer uses X-ray views taken at different angles of the breast to aide the Radiologist with the needle placement. The biopsy is performed by the Radiologist in the mammography department.  The tissue sample is then sent to the laboratory to be interpreted by the Pathologist. The results are sent to your Physician within two to three days.


You may eat and drink on the day of your biopsy. You will be asked to stop taking any blood thinners, such as aspirin or Coumadin for five days before your biopsy. These medications can increase your chances of bleeding during the biopsy and can result in bruising after the procedure. For your comfort wear a two piece outfit on the day of  your biopsy. 


The biopsy will be explained by nurse with training in breast health. She will answer any questions you may have and provide education materials such as videos and brochures.

You will be asked to remove just your top clothing and wear a robe that opens in the front.  The biopsy is done while you lie on your stomach on the biopsy table.  The technologist and nurse will make adjustments to make sure that you are comfortable while lying on the table.

A hole in the table allows your breast to be placed on the ZX-ray support below the table. After you are comfortable, your breast will be placed under the clear compression plate, similar to having a mammogram. Angled X-ray images are obtained to find the area where the biopsy will be done. Many X-ray images are necessary to give the computer enough information about where the biopsy area is located in the breast.

This information tells the Radiologist where to guide the biopsy needle. Before the needle is inserted into your breast a local anesthetic will be used to numb the biopsy area. The needle will be inserted by the Radiologist and more X-ray images will be obtained to see the needle placement.

Small cores of breast tissue will be taken through the needle while the more local anesthetic is applied though another part of the needle. In most cases a very small tissue marker will be inserted through the needle into your breast. The marker is made of titanium and is so small it cannot be felt in the breast. It is used to mark the biopsy area in your breast. This is done so the area is marked on future mammograms or if surgery is need in that area.

When all the cores have been obtained the needle and compression plate will be removed and you will be asked to lie on your back. The nurse will hold some pressure on your breast with her hand to prevent bruising of your breast. Since stitches are not necessary a small band-aide called a steri-strip will be placed on your breast.  A mammogram is usually done after the procedure to document what the biopsy area looked like after your biopsy. This helps the Radiologist interpret your future mammograms.

Your after biopsy care will be be explained to you by the nurse, and she will answer any questions you have also. The tissue will be sent to the laboratory for diagnosis by the Pathologist. The Pathologist report will be sent to your health care provider within three days.

Important note:  If you are of child bearing age and think there is any possibility of pregnancy it is important that you inform the physician ordering these x-rays and tell the technologist taking your x-rays.  

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