Stereotactic Core Breast Biopsy
Based on the results of your last mammogram, a doctor (radiologist) has recommended a stereotactic core breast biopsy. This doctor removes small samples of tissue from the breast using a needle. The doctor guides the needle to the correct place using a special mammography machine.
Advantages of Stereotactic Core Breast Biopsy
- It can be performed on very small lesions.
- It can be done on deposits of calcium (calcifications). These occur naturally as breast tissue changes and ages. At times, the size, number, shape, and pattern of calcifications can raise concern.
A Breast Center nurse will review all prescribed and over-the-counter medicines. You will need to stop any blood thinners 5 days before the biopsy. These include:
Aspirin (Ecotrin®, Excedrin®, Alka-Seltzer®, Anacin®, etc.)
• Non-Steroidal , Naproxen®, Nuprin® Ibuprofen, Aleve®, Motrin®Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (Advil , Etodolac, Indomethacin, Diclofenac (Voltaren) Nambumetone (Relafen)®Naprosyn etc.)
• Vitamin E, Omega 3 Oils such as Fish or Flaxseed; Ginger, Ginkgo Biloba, Ginseng, and all herbal medicines or teas
• ®Warfarin or Coumadin Enoxaparin (Lovenox) or Clopidogrel (Plavix). We will work with your doctor to stop these.
You may take Tylenol as needed during this time (if you do not have liver disease).
A nurse will review all allergies. This includes all medicines, latex, metal, and tape.
You will remain awake for the biopsy. If you would like a relaxant to calm you for the biopsy the nurse will contact your primary doctor for this. This must be arranged in advance as the Breast Center does not provide these medications. If you decide to take a relaxant, you must have someone drive you home after the biopsy. You should not drive or make important personal or business decisons until the next day.
Please eat and drink as normal, but have a lighter meal since you will be lying on your stomach. There is no need for you to fast before the biopsy. If you are diabetic, follow your regular diabetic care regimen.
Wear a two-piece outfit. You will be asked to undress from the waist up.
Do not wear talcum powder, lotions or deodorant on the breast and underarm area.
Plan on being at the Breast Center for about 2 hours.
During the Biopsy
You will lie face down on a special table. The table will be raised so the doctor can work from under it. Your breast will be placed through a round opening in the table. Your breast will be held in place by compression with paddles.
A staff member will be standing near you to give you guidance and support.
Mammograms will be taken from beneath the table. This will help to locate the correct site for biopsy. During these mammograms staff will step away behind a shield. You will be asked to hold as still as possible.
Your breast will be numbed with lidocaine. You will feel a sting, but you should not feel any pain after this is given. Let the staff know if you are having any pain.
Once your breast is numb, a small nick will be made in the skin of your breast in order to place the needle. You may feel pressure as this needle is placed, but should not feel any pain.
You will hear a whirring or beeping sound from the biopsy machine as samples are being taken. Several “cores” of tissue are taken. The tissue will often be x-rayed after it is removed to check for the presence of calcifiations. The samples will be sent to pathology.
After the biopsy, a small titanium clip is placed in the breast to mark the biopsy site. If a future surgery is needed, this will help guide the doctor to the area to be removed. If no surgery is needed the clip will stay in place. It will be seen on future mammograms. There are no known risks with having a clip.
The needle will be removed from your breast. There may be slight bleeding. Pressure will be applied until it stops. The site will be covered with thin strips of tape (Steri-strips), and a cold pack will be placed. You will be asked to sit for 10-15 minutes to make sure there are no problems with the site.
A final mammogram will be performed to ensure the biopsy went as planned.
Care after the biopsy
You will meet with a nurse after the biopsy. The nurse will assess the biopsy site for any bleeding and place a protective bandage over the biopsy site.
Your pathology results will be available in 3-4 working days. Your doctor’s office or the Breast Center staff will call you with your results.
For the first 24 hours avoid vigorous arm movements and heavy lifting (more than 10 pounds). If you wish, you may return to work and most activities the next day.
Apply ice to the biopsy area for 20-30 minutes at least 3 times the day of the biopsy and then as needed. This will help to reduce swelling and pain. Do not place ice directly on the skin.
Remove the protective bandage the next day. The Steri-Strips will loosen and come off on their own in about 7 days. If they are still in place after 7 days you may gently remove them.
It is recommended you wear a comfortable supportive bra to minimize breast movement. A sports bra works best.
You may shower the next day allowing water to run over the biopsy site. Pat this area dry. Do not soak in a tub or pool for 48 hours.
You may have some mild discomfort and bruising. This should go away in about a week. If you need something for discomfort, Tylenol will often manage this pain. Take as directed. You may take Ibuprofen as needed 24 hours after the biopsy and if there is no signs of bleeding.
Monitor for any signs of infection such as a temperature over 100.4°F, significant swelling, firmness or warmth, increased redness or drainage around the site that is pus-like.
Please call if you are having heavy bleeding from the biopsy site ) bleeding that soaks the bandage or that is flowing from the site). Hold firm pressure to the site if this occurs. It is normal to have a small amount of blood (dime to quarter size) show through on the bandage.
If you have questions or concerns, please call:
Breast Center Triage Nurse Line (608) 262-1368 Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.; this line is checked frequently; or the Breast Center (608) 266-6400 and ask to speak to a nurse. For medical emergencies, call 911.
After hours and weekends, call (608) 262-2122. This will give you the paging operator. Ask to speak to the radiologist on call. Give the operator your name and phone number with the area code. The doctor will call you back.
If you live out of the area, call 1-800-323-8942.
Spanish version Health Facts for You #5990
The information provided should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
Last Updated: 01/30/2013
Copyright © 07/27/2012 University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#5707
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