What is a stereotactic biopsy and how is it used in breast cancer?

Expert Answers

SeanTCanaleMD (Physician - Surgery - Breast (Verified) ) - 05 / 22 / 2012

A stereotactic biopsy used a special table that has digital mammography integrated into the table allowing the mammographic images to be used to guide/target needle placement for a biopsy. It is used primarily to biopsy microcalcifications or a mammographic density without an ultrasound correlate. The patient lies on the table on her stomach. The breast in question is positioned through a hole or portal in the table and into gentle compression (usually not quite as tight as for a mammogram but held there for the length of the procedure - 15-20 minutes). Images are taken and once the target is identified on the computer monitor, it can be marked and coordinates calculated by the computer. With the patient in this position, local anesthetic is injected into the skin and deeper breast. A vacuum assisted core biopsy device is then inserted up to the calculated coordinates. Images are taken to confirm that the device is in the proper location. Samples are then taken followed by images to prove that the area was adequately sampled. If sampling microcalcifications, the cores/tissue samples can also be imaged to show some were removed and are in the specimen. A marker is then deployed into the biopsy site/cavity with further images to document appropriate deployment/placement. The patient is then taken out of compression, pressure held to decrease bruising, and steristrips applied to the biopsy puncture site.
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