Breast Imaging - Stereotactic Breast Biopsy

Lumps or abnormalities in the breast are often detected by physical examination, mammography, or other imaging studies. However, it is not always possible to tell from these imaging tests whether a growth is benign or cancerous.

A breast biopsy is performed to remove some cells—either surgically or through a less invasive procedure involving a hollow needle—from a suspicious area in the breast and examine them under a microscope to determine a diagnosis. Image-guided needle biopsy is not designed to remove the entire lesion, but most of a very small lesion may be removed in the process of biopsy.

Image-guided biopsy is performed when the abnormal area in the breast is too small to be felt, making it difficult to locate the lesion by hand (called palpation).

In stereotactic breast biopsy, a special mammography machine uses ionizing radiation to help guide the radiologist’s instruments to the site of the abnormal growth.

A stereotactic breast biopsy is performed when a mammogram shows a breast abnormality such as:
•    a suspicious solid mass
•    microcalcifications, a tiny cluster of small calcium deposits
•    a distortion in the structure of the breast tissue
•    an area of abnormal tissue change
•    a new mass or area of calcium deposits is present at a previous surgery site.

Stereotactic breast biopsy is also performed when the patient or physician strongly prefers a non-surgical method of assessing a breast abnormality.

Stereotactic guidance is used in two biopsy procedures:
•    core needle (CN) which uses a large hollow needle to remove one sample of breast tissue per insertion.
•    vacuum-assisted device (VAD) which uses a vacuum powered instrument to collect multiple tissue samples during one needle insertion.

Breast Imaging Services: