Stereotactic Vacuum Assisted Biopsy

Based on the results of your last mammogram, your primary healthcare provider may recommend that an area of your breast be biopsied in order to obtain further information. This is accomplished through a technique known as a stereotatic vacuum assisted core biopsy.

During this type of biopsy, small samples of tissue are removed from the breast using a hollow needle, which is precisely guided to the correct location using x-rays and computer generated coordinates of the concerning area of breast tissue.

On the day of your biopsy, eat only a light meal since you will be lying flat on your stomach during the procedure. Wear comfortable clothing; a two-piece outfit is easiest for undressing. Do not apply deodorant or powder prior to your biopsy.

It is recommended that aspirin therapy and blood thinners, such as Coumadin and Plavix, be discontinued at least three days prior to this procedure to reduce complications from excessive bleeding. You should check with your healthcare provider who prescribed these medications before discontinuing them for this procedure. Other medications may be taken as prescribed.   

The Procedure

You will be assisted into the proper position, on your stomach, onto a padded examination table. Your breast will be positioned through a special opening in the table and compressed with plates, similar to a mammogram’s compression.

Once you are comfortable and well positioned, several x-ray images of your breast will be taken. It is extremely important that you do not move during the procedure, so request any extra pillows or padding for your comfort before the procedure starts.

After the breast is in position, the skin is cleansed with an antiseptic solution and anesthetized. You may feel a sting with the injection of the local anesthetic. This sting will only last a few seconds.

A hollow sampling needle will be placed into the breast to extract pieces of tissue. At this point, you may sense pressure, but it should not be painful.

You will be kept informed of what is happening at all times. If you have questions, concerns or feel any pain or discomfort, please tell the staff. The entire procedure will take approximately 1 to 1 ½  hours. 

The tissue removed will be sent to the laboratory for examination by a pathologist. A pathologist is a doctor who specializes in the diagnosis of disease through the microscopic analysis of tissue samples. The final pathology report will be available within 3 business days. You will be notified of these results by Center for Breast Health staff. Your primary healthcare provider may also contact you with these results. If the pathology report does not provide a clear diagnosis, a second or different type of biopsy should be done.

After The Procedure

Once the procedure is completed, you will be helped up to a sitting position and then off of the table. Because you have been required to lie in one position for a prolonged period, it may be difficult for you to get up unassisted.

You may apply ice to the biopsy site to relieve bruising and swelling. Do not apply the ice directly to your skin. Wrap the ice or ice pack in a washcloth and do not use longer than 15 minutes at each application to avoid damage to the skin from frostbite. You may apply the ice pack every 1-2 hours, as needed.

If you notice excessive swelling, bruising, bleeding, redness and/or heat at your biopsy site, please call us at 563-421-7625 or call your primary healthcare provider.

You may use acetominophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) every 4-6 hours as needed for pain. Do not use aspirin or aspirin-containing products to reduce the risk of bleeding.

You may find it necessary to restrict your activity, use of your arm on the biopsy side, following the procedure. You may return to work and your usual activities when you feel you are able. If you will need a work release/excuse, please inform our staff prior to leaving the clinic.

If you are on Coumadin, Plavix or aspirin therapy and these were temporarily discontinued for this procedure, you should call your healthcare provider who prescribed these medications for you for instructions on when to begin taking them again. 

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