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Stereotactic Breast Biopsy

About this procedure

A Stereotactic Breast Biopsy is the most accurate, efficient and minimally invasive biopsy technique today. This outpatient procedure allows patients to immediately resume normal activities, requires only a small incision while minimizing discomfort.

 A small probe is inserted into the breast through a tiny incision. The special needle used gently draws, cuts and collects tissue samples.


  • Simple, safe and painless
  • Local anesthesia only
  • Procedure takes less than an hour in a comfortable outpatient setting
  • No stitches are needed
  • Several samples can be taken without removing and reinserting the needle
  • A tiny Tissue Marker can be placed in the breast, at the location of the biopsied tissue, for future follow‐up
  • Provides a highly accurate diagnosis



  • Wear a comfortable two‐piece outfit.
  • Wear or bring a tight/firm support or sports bra.
  • You may eat a light breakfast.
  • Discontinue use of aspirin or blood thinners for at least one week prior to the exam.
  • Do not use any powder, deodorant, lotion or perfume on the day of the procedure.
  • Arrive 30 minutes before your exam to allow time to change your clothes and register.

      During this procedure

      You will be comfortably positioned face down on a special stereotactic table with your breast placed through an opening in the table. Your breast will be slightly compressed and the site located via digital stereotactic x‐ray. After the area is cleaned and numbed, the biopsy needle is directed to the site with computer guidance and placed in the center of the segment of tissue to be examined.

      After this procedure

      Pressure will be applied to your breast for a few minutes. The skin nick will not require stitches ‐ it will be bandaged and a cold pack will be applied to relieve possible swelling and bruising. You may take a non-aspirin pain reliever, like Tylenol, to help alleviate any discomfort. You may notice some bruising of the area which should resolve within 5‐7 days. Although you may resume normal activities after the exam, you should take it easy for about 24 hours after the biopsy is performed.

      Your doctor will contact you after receiving your biopsy results and then instruct you on any follow-up care that may be necessary.


      Q: Why do I need a breast biopsy?

      A: Your recent mammogram may have shown an abnormality or tiny calcium deposits, called microcalcifications, in your breast. Only a biopsy can determine if that abnormality is cancerous or benign (noncancerous).

      Q: What is Stereotactic Breast Biopsy?

      A: Stereotactic biopsy is a diagnostic tool. It is a nonsurgical way to obtain the tissue sample needed to make a conclusive diagnosis. The procedure is state‐of-the‐art and provides early, accurate results. Two digital x‐ray images of breast tissue are taken at different angles. A computer uses the images to locate the abnormality and calculate precise coordinates. Then the computer guides the physician in placing the needle at the correct target area.

      Q: How is this different than other biopsy procedures?

      A: This procedure is less invasive and less painful compared to other methods. It takes far less time to perform this nonsurgical technique and you’ll be back home the same day.

      Q: Will I be awake or asleep?

      A: You will be awake for this type of procedure. A local anesthetic will be used to numb only the breast area where the biopsy will occur. 

      Q: How long does the procedure take?

      A: Biopsy times vary. Typically, it should take a total of 60 minutes from the time you enter the exam room to the time you leave. The actual biopsy procedure will take a very short time. After the biopsy, a final set of images may be taken and your physician may place a marker at the biopsy site for future reference to identify the exact location of the biopsy. The marker is made of titanium and poses no health or safety risk. You will not be able to feel or notice the marker after placement.

      Q: Is this procedure painful?
      A: You might feel a slight sting or pinch when the numbing medication is being inserted into the breast. Numbing the breast prior to the biopsy causes the rest of the procedure to be pain free.

      Q: Will I have a scar?

      A: Most women do not experience any permanent scarring.

      Q: Are there any side‐effects?

      A: The treatment is generally free of side effects. In some cases, "black & blue" discolorations may occur in the region of the biopsy. Every such operation involves a minimal risk of infection.

      Printable Copy

      Please click here for a printable copy of our Stereotactic Breast Biopsy Patient Information Brochure.


      If you have any questions, please contact Van Wert County Hospital's Medical Imaging Department at 419-238-8630.