Stereotactic Core Breast Biopsy

This information explains your stereotactic core breast biopsy.

About Your Appointment

You will receive a phone call the day before your procedure to confirm your appointment time.  If you do not receive a call by noon, please call the site where you are scheduled to have your procedure. Those telephone numbers are listed below.

  • MSK Basking Ridge: 136 Mountain View Boulevard, Basking Ridge, NJ 908-542-3200
  • MSK Commack:  650 Commack Road, Commack, NY 631-623-4300
  • Evelyn H. Lauder Breast Center: 300 East 66th Street (at Second Avenue); elevator to 5th floor 646-888-5300
  • MSK Westchester: 500 Westchester Avenue, West Harrison, NY 914-367-7036
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Before Your Procedure

  • If you take medication to thin your blood (called anticoagulants or blood thinners), such as to treat blood clots or to prevent a heart attack or stroke, ask the doctor who prescribed your medication what to do. Some examples are warfarin (Coumadin®), dalteparin (Fragmin®), heparin, tinzaparin (Innohep®), enoxaparin (Lovenox®), clopidogrel (Plavix®), cilostazol (Pletal®), prasugrel (Effient®), and ticlopidine (Ticlid®). The doctor who referred you for your procedure or your cardiologist should be involved in any decision to stop taking your anticoagulant.  When you talk with him or her about your procedure, share the information below. If your doctor has any questions, he or she should call the location where you are having your procedure and ask for the Breast Imaging doctor. Those telephone numbers are listed above.
    • You should not take warfarin (Coumadin) for 5 days before your biopsy. A blood test called an INR may be done if your previous INR value was greater than 4.  You may take subcutaneous heparin (shots) the night before your procedure.  Ideally, aspirin, clopidogrel (Plavix), and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) should not be taken for 5 days before your biopsy procedure.  Your doctor will tell you when it’s safe to start taking blood thinners again. It’s usually the same day, after your procedure, as long as there is no significant bleeding.
    • In certain circumstances, blood thinners cannot be stopped safely. If this is the case because of medical conditions, or if your risk of developing a blood clot is too high, your radiologist will determine whether he or she can perform the biopsy.
  • Stop taking vitamin E 5 days before your procedure.
  • Please review the information in Common Medications Containing Aspirin and other Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs for examples of what not to take and what to take instead.
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The Day of Your Procedure

You may eat as usual the day of your procedure. You may shower the day of your procedure, but don’t put on any lotion, powder, or deodorant. Wear a button-down or loose fitting top and a tight-fitting bra.

You will lie on your stomach on a specially designed table. Your breast will hang through a hole in the table. It will be compressed by a mammography machine under the table. A computerized mammography machine will take images to locate the area of concern.

Once the site is located, your breast will be cleaned. A local anesthetic will be injected to numb the site undergoing the biopsy. A very small incision will be made so the needle can be inserted into the area. It is left in place while more images are made. This is to be sure the needle is in the correct spot. When the correct placement is confirmed, tissue will be withdrawn. A small marker may be left at the spot so that the area can be identified if you need surgery. You will not be able to feel the marker and it will not set off metal detectors. After the biopsy, the area will again be cleaned and a pressure dressing will be put over it. A mammogram may be done after the biopsy.

You may find the hardest part of the procedure is lying with your arms over your head or at their sides for up to an hour. You cannot move because movement changes the location of the site undergoing the biopsy.

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After Your Procedure

  • You will be given instructions on how to care for your biopsy site.
  • Your radiologist will call you with your biopsy results in 3 to 5 working days. He or she will also send a report to your doctor. The results of your procedure will be used with other test results to plan your care.
  • Your radiologist will give you a card with his or her phone number to call if you have any questions. If you have questions after 5:00 pm, during the weekend, or on a holiday, please call 212-639-2000 and ask for the Radiology Body fellow on call.
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