A Breast Biopsy is often deemed necessary when a suspicious lump is found in the breast during imaging testing. During the procedure, a sample of tissue from the suspicious area in the breast is removed and examined under a microscope.
A Stereotactic Localisation is a form of breast biopsy where, using a mammography machine, a radiologist, uses X-Rays to help guide their biopsy equipment.
How is stereotactic localisation performed?
You will first be invited undress from the waist up. You will then be instructed to either site in a chair facing the digital mammography machine or lie down on a moveable exam table. The affected breast will be positioned into the mammography unit. The breast will be compressed and held in place throughout the procedure.
A special digital mammography machine is used to perform a stereotactic breast biopsy. In digital mammography, as in digital photography, film is replaced by electronic detectors. These convert x-rays into electrical signals, which are used to produce images of the breast that can be immediately seen on a computer screen.
Stereotactic mammography pinpoints the exact location of a breast abnormality by using computer analysis of x-rays taken from two different angles. Using the calculated computer coordinates, the radiologist inserts a needle through a small cut in the skin, then advances it into the lesion and removes tissue samples. Before inserting the needle the radiologist will numb the breast using local anaesthetic.
The procedure is usually completed within an hour.
There are few risks associated with the stereotactic breast biopsy procedure. It is however not suitable during pregnancy as it can be harmful to an unborn baby. In less that 1% of cases a collection of blood, known as a hematoma, can develop in the area where the biopsy was carried out.
You may feel some discomfort when the anaesthetic needle is inserted, but this will only last a matter of seconds until the breast is numbed. You may experience some soreness and bruising following the test.
We also advise that you avoid strenuous activity for at least 24 hours after the stereotactic biopsy procedure has been completed.
Prior to the test you may be asked to remove jewellery, removable dental appliances, eye-glasses and any metal objects or clothing that might interfere with the x-ray images.
On the day of the procedure you should not wear deodorant, powder, lotion or perfume under your arms or on your breasts.
Since a sample of tissue is taken, these will need to go to the pathology laboratory. Once the results are obtained they will be sent to the consultant. A follow up appointment will be made with the breast unit. Results will be discussed with the consultant.