Rhode Island Hospital
Providence, RI 02903
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The Miriam Hospital
164 Summit Avenue
Providence, RI 02906
A stereotactic breast biopsy is a type of core needle biopsy that acquires breast tissue without surgery. This biopsy method is generally reserved for clustered calcifications (calcium deposits in the breast that can signify early stage breast cancer) that have newly developed or increased over time in the breast. This procedure uses a special computer to analyze multiple x-ray images to determine the exact location to insert the needle into the breast.
A stereotactic breast biopsy begins like a mammogram, except that you will lay face down on a padded examination table. Your breast will be positioned through a round opening in the table. The table then will be elevated several feet so that your doctor is seated below. (The procedure can also be performed while you sit in a chair if you are unable to lie on your abdomen.)
Your breast will be compressed just as with a mammogram, and the computerized images help to guide your doctor to the location of the abnormal tissue. Next, the area on your breast will be sterilized with rubbing alcohol or iodine. Typically, an injection of local anesthetic is given to numb the area where the needle will be inserted. Once the anesthetic has taken effect, your doctor will make an incision approximately one quarter inch long, and extract tissue samples from the lump. The entire procedure can last 30 minutes to one hour.