Stereotactic Breast Biopsy

How to Prepare for Your Stereotactic Biopsy

Based on the results of your last mammogram, your physician has recommended a breast biopsy in order to obtain further information. A biopsy is a procedure in which a small sample of tissue is taken for further examination by the laboratory. There are different types of biopsies; this type is a stereotactic core biopsy.

During this procedure, small samples of tissue are removed from the breast using a hollow needle. The needle is precisely guided to the correct location using x-ray guidance.

Prior to Procedure


  • Eat a light meal
  • Use only products containing acetaminophen (such as Tylenol), ibuprofen or naproxen
  • Wear a loose-fitting, two-piece outfit (i.e. sweat suit or slacks and a blouse)
  • Bring or wear a comfortable bra

Do Not:

  • Take aspirin, aspirin products, or blood thinners for at least 3 to 7 days prior to the test
    • Consult your physician’s office for more complete instructions if you are currently taking these medications
  • Wear earrings or necklaces
  • Use deodorant, talcum power or bath oil on the day of the biopsy

You will be able to drive yourself home, although some patients may prefer to bring someone with them to drive home. A comfortable waiting area will be provided for your companion.

Prior to your procedure, a nurse will contact you to obtain a health history and answer any questions you may have. If you have not received this call, or you have additional questions, contact the Breast Health Program in Midland at (989) 837-9070 or in Alma at (989) 466-7253 or the Breast Imaging Department in Alpena at (989) 356-7207.

During the Procedure

During the procedure, you will lie face down on a specially designed table with your breast positioned naturally and comfortably through an opening in the tabletop. The tabletop will be raised so a radiologist and technologist are able to perform the procedure from underneath the table.

Your breast will be moderately compressed and held in position throughout the procedure. Several X-rays will be taken, which will help locate the questionable area and calculate where the radiologist should place the biopsy instrument. The doctor will inject a local anesthetic into the area where the needle will be placed. When the area is completely numb, a small incision will be made. Several cores of tissue will be taken and sent to pathology. A tissue marker will then be placed and a mammogram will follow to confirm placement. During the procedure, you will be told what is occurring and your comfort level will be continually evaluated.

After the Procedure

  • Manual pressure will be applied to the needle placement area
  • A bandage and cold compress will be applied to relieve swelling and bruising
  • Take a non-aspirin pain reliever like Tylenol every 4 to 6 hours to help alleviate any discomfort, if needed

For 24 hours, do not participate in strenuous activity, such as:

  • aerobics
  • weight lifting
  • tennis
  • skiing
  • vacuuming or similar activities

Most patients can resume regular work or activities 24 hours after the procedure.

You may notice some bruising of the area, which should resolve within 5 to 7 days. If you notice any excessive swelling, bleeding, drainage, redness or heat, please call your physician.

Getting Your Biopsy Results

Waiting for biopsy results is never easy. We would suggest that two working days following the procedure you call the office of the doctor who ordered your biopsy. Inform them that your biopsy has been completed. They will provide more details regarding how you will get the results.

If you have any questions, please contact the Breast Health Program in Midland at (989) 837-9070 or in Alma at (989) 466-7253 or the Breast Imaging Department in Alpena at (989) 356-7207.