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    Stereotactic Breast Biopsy

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    What is a Stereotactic Breast Biopsy?

    A stereotactic breast biopsy uses computer-guided imagery to position a biopsy needle within the breast. In this special type of biopsy, the radiologist takes a sample of breast tissue so that the patient can avoid surgery. Plan to stay for 1½ hours.

    Note: Aspirin, Vitamin E, Advil (ibuprofen), Aleve (naproxen), and anticoagulants (blood-thinning medications) should be stopped for at least 4 days before the biopsy. Please tell the Breast Health Center if you are taking any prescription anticoagulants.

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    On the Day of Your Procedure

    • You may eat and drink normally before the procedure.


    • Arrive 15 minutes before your scheduled appointment.


    • Register in the lobby of 3698 California St. Take the elevator up to the 2nd floor (Breast Health Center) and check in at the front desk.


    • You can come alone or bring family and/or friends. They can wait in the waiting room during the procedure.


    • You sign a consent form stating that you understand the procedure.

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    During Your Procedure

    • A staff member brings you into a private room where you change from the waist up and put on a robe.


    • You lie face down on a table and place the affected breast through an opening to make it accessible to the X-ray and biopsy equipment.


    • The technologist asks you to lie still which may make your neck feel slightly stiff and uncomfortable.


    • After X-rays of the affected breast are taken, the radiologist gives you a local anesthetic and then makes a ¼-inch cut so that the biopsy needle can be guided easily into your breast. The procedure is painless for most women, although you may feel some vibration or pressure when the samples are taken.


    • Using the computer images as a guide, the radiologist gets several tissue samples through the needle. A tiny clip may be inserted through the biopsy needle to mark the area being sampled.


    • After the biopsy is done, the technologist applies antibiotic ointment, Steri-Strips® (incision tapes), a Band-Aid®, and an ice pack.

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    Caring for Yourself at Home

    • You may drive home alone after the procedure.


    • Before you go, your technologist tells you how to care for yourself at home and gives you written instructions and supplies, if needed.


    • Keep the ice pack on your skin for 20 minutes, remove it and place it in the freezer for 10 minutes. Repeat for 1 to 3 hours, depending on how easily you bruise. Placing the pack within your bra is the easiest way to keep it in place.


    • You are encouraged to go home and rest. If you must return to work, you may. However, you should avoid any heavy lifting (no more than 10 pounds) or physical labor.


    • Your biopsy results will be available within 2 - 3 days. You get the results from the Breast Health Center nurse, the radiologist, or from your referring doctor.

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    More Ways to Learn

    • Call (415) 600-6281 for more information about a free consultation with a nurse at the Breast Health Center.

    • Visit the American Cancer SocietyOpens new window site for more information about breast cancer.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Question: Will there be any discomfort?
    Answer: The procedure is painless for most women, although you may feel some vibration or pressure when the samples are taken.

    Question: Can I drive home after the procedure?
    Answer: You may drive home alone after this procedure.

    Question: When will I get my results?
    Answer: Your biopsy results will be available within 2 - 3 days. You get the results from the Breast Health Center nurse, the radiologist, or from your referring doctor.


    Produced by the staff and physicians at California Pacific Medical Center in association with the Center for Patient and Community Education. Last updated: 11/09

    Funded by: A generous donation from the Mr. and Mrs. Arthur A. Ciocca Foundation.

    Note: This information is not meant to replace any information or personal medical advice which you get directly from your doctor(s). If you have any questions about this information, such as the risks or benefits of the treatment listed, please ask your doctor(s).

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