Breast Biopsy

What is a Stereotactic Breast Biopsy (SBB)?

A Stereotactic Breast Biopsy is the most accurate, efficient and minimally invasive biopsy technique. This outpatient procedure allows patients to immediately resume normal activities, requires only a small incision and minimizes discomfort. It also gives physicians the ability to place a tissue marker in the breast for future follow-up.

SBB is an X-ray-guided biopsy procedure utilizing the most accurate biopsy technique. The vacuum-assisted biopsy device obtains contiguous segments of tissue, from the mammary gland
or breast, to be removed in a specific direction via a needle approximately three mm in thickness.

When is a Stereotactic Breast Biopsy used?

The procedure is used to obtain a more precise diagnosis of suspicious tissue changes (e.g. microcalcifications, focal findings) that have been located in the mammary gland by mammography or ultrasound.

How is the system applied?

The patient lies in a comfortable prone position on a stereotactic table. The breast to be examined hangs down through an aperture. A mammogram is taken of the breast in compressed form and the suspicious site is located via digital stereotactic X-ray. The biopsy needle is aimed at the suspected site with computer
guidance and placed in the center of the segment of tissue to be examined.

Why is this application minimally invasive?

The needle is introduced via a tiny skin nick into the patient’s breast, where it remains during the entire biopsy. The incision does not need to be sutured. The risk of scarring is thus very small. The entire procedure can be performed on an outpatient basis under simple local anesthetic.

How is a microcalcified site removed?

The surgeon makes a skin incision of about two to three ems and works along a previously introduced wire up to the site to be examined. The tissue is excised under general anesthesia with a safety margin of about one em.

Why is early detection of breast cancer so important?

Microcalcified sites are an important, early warning sign of malignancy in the mammary gland. Some 80% of these calcium accumulations are benign. For this reason, a minimally invasive procedure is justified.

Is a biopsy with the needle accurate?

The autoguide function of the needle ensures an almost 100% strike accuracy into the lesion. With the aid of instantaneous digital imaging, the biopsy can be localized and checked in a matter of seconds.

How long does the procedure take?

Removal of the tissue samples takes about 20 minutes. Afterward, the patient is often requested to keep tight pressure on her breast for about 20 minutes while lying down.

How painful is the treatment?

A local anesthetic is applied to the incision and biopsy site. The patient feels no pain.

Are there any side effects?

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 risk of infection.

How to prepare for the exam:
  • Wear a comfortable two-piece outfit.
  • 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 scheduled exam to allow time to change your clothes and register.
What you can expect after the exam:

After the exam, there will be some bleeding where the needle was placed. The incision will not require stitches — it will be bandaged and a cold pack will be applied to relieve the 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 five to seven days. Although you may resume normal activities after the exam, you should take it easy for about 24 hours after the biopsy is performed.

What are the risks?

You will most likely only experience some small bruising and discomfort at the biopsy site. The procedure is designed to minimize scarring, as with any open surgical procedure, there is a possibility of leaving a small scar. There is also a possibility of infection. So if you notice any excessive swelling, bleeding, drainage, redness, or heat, please contact your physician immediately. 

When can I expect to see my results?

Test results are usually available within two to three days.

Contact information

  • Breast Biopsies at Bayonne Medical Center29 East 29th Street
    Bayonne NJ 07002
    Phone: 201.858.5375
  • Breast Biopsies at Christ Hospital176 Palisade Avenue
    Jersey City NJ 07306
    Phone: 201.795.8250
  • Breast Biopsies at Hoboken University Medical Center 308 Willow Avenue
    Hoboken NJ 07030
    Phone: 201.418.1000