Stereotactic Core Breast Biopsy

This information will help you get ready for your stereotactic core breast biopsy.

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About Your Breast Biopsy

A breast biopsy is a procedure done to take samples of tissue and cells from your breast to check it for cancer.

First, you will have a mammogram done to find the exact area of your breast to biopsy. Once your radiologist (doctor who specializes in image-guided procedures) finds the area to biopsy, they will guide a thin needle into your breast. They will remove a sample of tissue or cells. The sample is then checked for cancer.

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Before Your Procedure

Remove devices from your skin

If you wear any of the following devices on your skin, the manufacturer recommends you remove it before your scan or procedure:

  • Continuous glucose monitor (CGM)
  • Insulin pump

Talk with your healthcare provider about scheduling your appointment closer to the date you need to change your device. Make sure you have an extra device with you to put on after your scan or procedure.

If you’re not sure how to manage your glucose while your device is off, talk with the healthcare provider who manages your diabetes care before your appointment.

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The Day of Your Procedure

Things to remember

  • You may eat and drink as usual on the day of your procedure.
  • You may shower the day of your procedure.
  • Don’t put on any lotion, powder, or deodorant.
  • Wear a button-down or loose fitting top.
  • If you’re female, bring a tight-fitting bra to wear after your biopsy to support the biopsy site on your breast and make you more comfortable.

What to expect

Once you arrive at the hospital, doctors, nurses, and other staff members will ask you to state and spell your name and date of birth many times. This is for your safety. People with the same or similar names may be having procedures on the same day.

You may be asked to change into a hospital gown and remove any necklaces, chains, and earrings you’re wearing.

Your technologist will bring you to the procedure room. You will either lie on your stomach on the examination table or sit up in a chair.

Once you’re comfortable, your technologist will begin your procedure. Your breast(s) will go inside the mammogram machine and will be pressed down in order to take pictures. The pictures will help your radiologist find the area they need to biopsy. It’s important to stay still and breathe normally during the procedure.

Once they find the area of your breast to biopsy, your radiologist will clean your skin and give you an injection (shot) of a local anesthetic (medication to make an area numb).

After the area is numb, your radiologist will make a small incision (surgical cut) in your breast and insert a thin needle. They will leave the needle in place while more images are taken. This is to be sure the needle is in the correct spot. Your radiologist will remove samples of tissue. The samples will be sent to the Pathology Department to check them for cancer.

Your radiologist will leave a small marker at the area of your incision to help your doctor see where you had your biopsy. You won’t be able to feel this marker. Your radiologist will then put Steri-Strips (thin pieces of paper tape) over your incision.

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After Your Procedure

  • After your procedure, you will have your post-biopsy mammogram to make sure the marker is in the right place. After your mammogram, your technologist will place a bandage over the Steri-Strips.
  • Your nurse will give you the resource Caring for Yourself After Your Image-Guided Breast Biopsy for instructions on how to care for your biopsy site.
  • Your radiologist will call you with your biopsy results in 3 to 5 business days (Monday through Friday). They will also send a report to your doctor. Your doctor will use the results of your biopsy to help plan your care.

If you have questions after 5:00 pm, during the weekend, or on a holiday, call 212-639-2000 and ask for the Radiology Body fellow on call.

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