Patient Guide for Stereotactic Breast Biopsy


  • In advance of your biopsy procedure, you should inform your doctor of any medications and vitamins you are currently taking - either prescription or over-the-counter. Your doctor may advise you to stop taking certain medications prior to your scheduled biopsy. You may also be advised to wear loose clothing for comfort and not to wear deodorant or perfume. Most patients are able to eat and drink normally and perform their typical daily activities before arriving for their breast biopsy.
  • Most prescribed medications can be taken the morning of the breast biopsy. You will be asked to discontinue the use of any blood thinners including aspirin and aspirin-like products (such as Bayer and Excedrin) prior to your biopsy.  
  • Before your breast biopsy, tell your doctor about any allergies you have, especially any history of allergic reactions to anesthesia.
  • Please wear a tight fitting bra. This will help with the compression bandage placed on your incision site and will hold in place the ice pack that we send home with you.
  • Wear comfortable, two-piece clothing. Avoid wearing light colored clothing.
  • <li">If you have questions or concerns before the day of your biopsy, please call the Imaging Department </li">

The day of your biopsy after procedure

  • Avoid any activity that will move or bounce the breast very much, such as jogging or vacuuming.
  • Do not lift anything heavier than a gallon of milk.
  • Do not get your wound wet for 24 hours after the biopsy.
  • Follow the instructions you are given to care for the bandage.
  • Take it easy. Most patients take the day off work to rest. You may go back to work, as long as, you avoid heavy lifting and activities that move or bounce your breast.

The day after your biopsy

  • Do not scrub the wound area or put any ointment on it.
  • You may shower 24 hours after the biopsy. Do not soak your breast in water for at least three days. This allows the wound to close before it is exposed to germs that can be in bath water.
  • Return to half of your normal activity, but listen to your body. If you feel discomfort, wait another day or two before doing normal activity.
  • What to Expect when getting a Stereotactic Breast Biopsy?
  • On the day of the procedure you will be asked to undress and will be given a gown to wear. Depending on the imaging system used to help guide your biopsy, you may have your breast compressed similar to a mammogram, or a gel may be applied if your physician is using ultrasound imaging. After you have been properly positioned for your biopsy, your breast will be imaged and the area to be biopsied located. Your skin will be cleansed with sterilizing solution and numbed with anesthetic. A very small skin nick will then be made to make it easier for the biopsy needle to enter the breast.
  • Typically, multiple tissue samples will be collected through the single skin nick. A final set of images may then be taken to verify that the appropriate tissue was collected. Your physician may place a small marker (smaller than a piece of rice) at the biopsy site to make it easy to find the exact location of the biopsy in the future. The marker is made of a metallic alloy, such as titanium or stainless steel, and you will not be able to feel or notice the marker after it has been placed.
  • After Your Procedure, pressure will be applied to your breast for a few minutes. A small bandage will be placed over the skin nick and you may be provided with an ice pack to apply over the biopsy site. In some instances, a compression wrap bandage may be placed around your chest to minimize chances of swelling or bruising. Your doctor may prescribe a non-aspirin pain reliever to help alleviate any possible discomfort. Detailed instructions will also be provided on how to care for the biopsied area. Most women can resume normal daily activities immediately following their procedure.
  • The radiologist, nurse or technologist will then discuss what to expect after the examination and what to do when you get home.  You will be provided written post biopsy breast care instructions prior to leaving the center.  Most patients are able to resume their usual activities the next day.
  • We ask you to minimize activities for about 24 hours after the biopsy--no heavy lifting or arm movement.

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