MRI uses a powerful magnet, radio waves, and a computer to produce images. These images help to evaluate how well areas of the body are functioning and to detect and treat different medical conditions.

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A CT scan quickly takes multiple images of internal organs, soft tissue, and other body parts. These images are then used to diagnose cancer and other internal diseases.

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Women’s Health goes beyond screening mammograms. Exams like DEXA bone density tests, OB Ultrasounds, and Breast Biopsy play a vital role in preventative health care.

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Stereotactic Breast Biopsy

Stereotactic Breast Biopsy

Stereotactic Breast Biopsy

Lumps or abnormalities in the breast are often detected by physical examination, mammography, or other imaging studies. However, it is not always possible to tell from these imaging tests whether a growth is benign or cancerous.


A breast biopsy is performed to remove some cells—either surgically or through a less invasive procedure involving a hollow needle—from a suspicious area in the breast and examine them under a microscope to determine a diagnosis. Image-guided needle biopsy is not designed to remove the entire lesion, but most of a very small lesion may be removed in the process of biopsy.

Image-guided biopsy is performed when the abnormal area in the breast is too small to be felt, making it difficult to locate the lesion by hand (called palpation).


In stereotactic breast biopsy, a special mammography machine uses ionizing radiation to help guide the radiologist's instruments to the site of the abnormal growth.


For more information visit: WWW.RADIOLOGYINFO.ORG



Stereotactic Breast Biopsy FAQs

What are some common uses of the procedure?

A stereotactic breast biopsy is performed when a mammogram shows a breast abnormality such as:

  • a suspicious solid mass
  • micro calcifications, a tiny cluster of small calcium deposits
  • a distortion in the structure of the breast tissue
  • an area of abnormal tissue change
  • a new mass or area of calcium deposits is present at a previous surgery site


How does the procedure work?

Mammography is a low-dose x-ray system designed to examine breasts.


The special mammography unit used to perform a stereotactic breast biopsy is a digital mammography machine. In digital mammography, as in digital photography, film is replaced by electronic detectors. These convert x-rays into electrical signals, which are used to produce images of the breast that can be immediately seen on a computer screen.


Stereotactic mammography pinpoints the exact location of a breast mass by using a computer and x-rays taken from two different angles. Using these computer coordinates, the radiologist inserts the needle through the skin, advances it into the lesion and removes tissue samples.


How is the procedure performed?

Image-guided, minimally invasive procedures such as stereotactic breast biopsy are most often performed by a specially trained radiologist.


Breast biopsies are usually done on an outpatient basis.


You will lie face down on a moveable exam table and the affected breast or breasts will be positioned into openings in the table.


The table is then raised and the procedure is then performed beneath it. If the machine is an upright system, you may be seated next to the stereotactic mammography unit.


The breast is compressed and held in position throughout the procedure.


A local anesthetic will be injected into the breast to numb it.


Several stereotactic pairs of x-ray images are taken.


A very small nick is made in the skin at the site where the biopsy needle is to be inserted.


The radiologist then inserts the needle and advances it to the location of the abnormality using the x-ray and computer generated coordinates. X-ray images are again obtained to confirm that the needle tip is actually within the lesion.


Tissue samples are then removed using one of two methods.

  • In a core needle biopsy, the automated mechanism is activated, moving the needle forward and filling the needle trough, or shallow receptacle, with 'cores' of breast tissue. The outer sheath instantly moves forward to cut the tissue and keep it in the trough. This process is repeated three to six times.
  • With a vacuum-assisted device (VAD), vacuum pressure is used to pull tissue from the breast through the needle into the sampling chamber. Without withdrawing and reinserting the needle, it rotates positions and collects additional samples. Typically, eight to 10 samples of tissue are collected from around the lesion.


After the sampling, the needle will be removed.


A final set of images will be taken.


A small marker may be placed at the site so that it can be located in the future if necessary.


Once the biopsy is complete, pressure will be applied to stop any bleeding and the opening in the skin is covered with a dressing. No sutures are needed.


A mammogram may be performed to confirm that the marker is in the proper position.

This procedure is usually completed within an hour.


Patient Preparations

Do not take any aspirin or blood thinners 5 days prior to biopsy. Wear a two piece outfit (you will only be asked to undress from the waist up). Wear no deodorant, powder, perfume or cologne. You may eat and drink before your procedure. However, be careful of how much you drink due to the fact that you will be on the table for approximately 45 minutes. Once we have you on the table, you will be unable to get up to go to the restroom. Please bring any recent mammogram and breast ultrasound studies with you on the day of your appointment if they have not already been sent in preparation for your exam. We must have these studies to do biopsy.