- Dr. James Vopal
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The Breast Care Center of the Treasure Coast
801 Osceola Street
Stuart, FL 34994
Phone: (772) 220-4050
Fax: (772) 220-0502
Diagnosis - Stereotactic Breast Biopsy
What Is Stereotactic Breast Biopsy?
A breast biopsy is often necessary after a suspicious lump is detected on the breast. Various methods may be utilized to extract tissue samples from the lump and the surrounding area, which are then sent to a pathology lab to determine whether or not it is cancerous. A stereotactic breast biopsy is a simple procedure that uses advanced computer imaging technology. It allows for the removal of tiny sections of tissue that indicate they required further attention after showing up on a mammogram but cannot be felt. The ease and safety of this procedure, typically performed during a brief office visit, is well-documented.
This modern procedure provides the same reliability as more complicated surgical biopsy, but provides these significant advantages:
- It does not require anesthesia
- It requires less time
- It is more cost effective
- It is much less complicated
What Happens Prior to the Procedure?
Before a stereotactic breast biopsy, Dr. Vopal will perform a physical exam and review your medical history. Notify Dr. Vopal if you may be pregnant, as the radiation used by the mammography equipment can be harmful to your unborn child. It is important that Dr. Vopal knows of all medications that you are taking, as you may need to stop some of them before the biopsy. On the day of the biopsy, you may not apply any perfume, deodorant, lotion or powder to your breasts or underarms.
What Will The Procedure Be Like?
The stereotactic biopsy of a small area of your breast tissue will be performed by Dr. Vopal.
Before the procedure begins, you will need to remove the clothing and jewelry from the upper portion of your body and put on a gown. Dr. Vopal will position you as comfortably as possible on your abdomen on a special X-ray table or seat you upright in a special chair. If laying down, your breast will be gently placed through an opening in the table, or if upright, onto the same type of tray used for your mammogram. Once you are in position, your breast will be held in place with light compression. You will then be asked to hold your breath as X-ray pictures are taken. This is done to verify the location of the area to be sampled. If not quite right, you will be repositioned until it is.
Dr. Vopal will review these films. He will use a computer to read the X-rays and locate the precise area of your breast tissue which will be sampled.
Next, Dr. Vopal will numb the area to be tested. You may feel a tiny pinch similar to a pin prick. A small incision (no more than 1/4″) will be made through which the biopsy needle will be inserted. You may feel some slight pressure during this time. It is important to relax. This is rarely painful.
As with any breast biopsy, once the breast tissue samples are obtained, the needle is removed. At this point, another set of x-rays will be taken. Pressure is then applied to stop any bleeding at the biopsy site, and a bandage is placed over the area. The breast tissue samples are sent to a pathology lab, where a pathologist reviews them and determines whether or not cancer is present. Results are usually available in a few days, and will be discussed with you at that point.
After a stereotactic breast biopsy, you may experience swelling and/or bruising at the site of the biopsy, which can usually be managed with ice and over-the-counter pain medications. Demanding physical labor should be avoided for the first 24 hours following the biopsy; a full return to day-to-day activities is possible after that point. If you experience excessive drainage, bleeding, redness or swelling of the breast, contact our office immediately, as these may be signs of an infection.
While stereotactic biopsy is a relatively safe procedure, there are certain risks associated with all procedures involving needle insertion through the skin. Although rare, these risks include excessive bleeding, hematoma and infection. There is also a slight risk of the biopsy needle breaking into the chest wall, but this is extremely uncommon. Only a qualified doctor can determine if this procedure is right for you.