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UW Health SMPH
American Family Children's Hospital

Stereotactic Biopsy

Contact Information

To schedule a procedure, referring physicians may call (608) 263-9729 (263-XRAY).


Patients may not refer themselves and schedule an appointment for this procedure. 

What is a stereotactic biopsy?
Though mammograms consistently reveal breast abnormalities, often times physicians cannot determine whether a growth is malignant (cancerous) or benign. Biopsy, a procedure in which tissue is removed for analysis, is used to make this determination.
Stereotactic biopsies are often preferred by patients to open surgical biopsies because they are less invasive. Rather than surgically removing the entire growth, stereotactic biopsies remove a small portion of the growth with the use of a hollow core needle. This tissue can then be analyzed to determine if further intervention is needed
Who is a candidate for stereotactic biopsy?
Patients may be considered candidates for stereotactic biopsy if:
  • Mammograms reveal non-palpable abnormalities
  • Microcalcifications (clustered, new or increasing in number) exist
  • Lesions show up on a mammogram but not on a ultrasound

Viable candidates will undergo a medication review and screening with a nurse to verify they can maintain a certain position on the procedural table, do not exceed the maximum weight and are not allergic to lidocaine or nickel. Patients that are not candidates may be offered options including needle localization or short-term follow-up with breast exam and mammogram.


The Procedure


Stereotactic biopsy is done under local anesthesia and requires a very small incision. After the patient is properly positioned and the anesthesia takes effect, a small incision is made in the skin. A hollow core needle is passed through the area in question to obtain the necessary samples.


The results of the biopsy are available from the primary care provider within four days.