Frequently Asked Questions


What is a stereotactic breast biopsy?
A stereotactic breast biopsy is a procedure that uses computer technology to guide a needle to an abnormality seen on mammography.  The abnormality usually cannot be felt on breast self-examination or clinical examination by your primary care physician. This is a simple and safe procedure performed at our center by our highly qualified team of breast imaging specialists.  The procedure requires little recovery time and there is no significant scarring to the breast. 

How should I prepare for a procedure?
Although stereotactic breast biopsy is minimally invasive, there is a risk of bleeding whenever the skin is penetrated.  For this reason, if you are taking aspirin, you are advised to stop 7 days before the procedure.  Please inform our staff if you have any known bleeding problems or have been taking blood thinners.  If so, we will need to coordinate your biopsy with your referring physician. Avoid the use of underarm powder or deodorant before the procedure. Wear comfortable, two-piece clothing. We request that you have a relative or a friend drive you to procedure to lend support, and also to drive you home after the completion of your procedure.

Can I eat before the procedure?
Yes, you may eat a light meal before the procedure.

Will I experience any pain during a stereotactic breast biopsy procedure?

Each patient is different, but you might feel a slight sting or pinch when the anesthetic is first being administered to your breast. Numbing the breast prior to the biopsy should make the rest of the procedure as pain-free as possible. You will be given local anesthesia with Lidocaine to numb the procedure area. You may request Valium, in order to receive it you will need to bring a driver with you.

What are the risks associated with a breast biopsy?

The main risks are a little bleeding and low chance of infection. Most bleeding happens during and shortly after the biopsy. Put pressure on the area to help it stop. In some cases, blood collects within the breast, creating a tender lump that looks bruised. This will heal with time like any normal bruise.

How long will the procedure take?
The entire stereotactic biopsy procedure should take approximately one hour for one area of concern.

When and how would I get the results?
The tissue specimens will be sent to our Pathology team for review. A diagnosis will be available within 3 to 4 working days.  

How much of the breast tissue or lump will be removed?

Only a small sampling of tissue will be taken from the suspicious area.

How will I feel after the procedure?

Your breast may be slightly tender and you may experience some bruising at the biopsy site. Typically, most women can resume many of their normal activities the same day as the procedure. Your doctor will advise you of post-biopsy procedure care.

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Call our schedulers at 530.529.XRAY (9729), Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.