OSF St. Joseph Medical Center

Breast Biopsy

Stereotactic breast biopsy is a safe, fast and precise way to test breast tissue samples without surgery. OSF St. Joseph Medical Center was the first hospital in McLean County to offer stereotactic breast biopsies to its patients, eliminating the need for Bloomington-Normal residents to travel to major cities, such as Chicago or St. Louis, for the procedure.

The procedure is used when doctors cannot tell if lumps or abnormalities are non-cancerous or cancerous by a physical exam or mammogram.

How to Prepare for the Procedure

Because stereotactic breast biopsy does not require surgery, the procedure preparation is not rigorous. It is recommended you eat a light meal and engage in normal activities before the procedure. It is also recommended you wear comfortable, two-piece clothing. Do not wear powder, deodorant or lotion on the breasts or underarm area. It is suggested someone drive you home after the procedure.

The Procedure

To begin, a radiologist uses a mammography machine to guide instruments to a lump or abnormal breast growth. After the area is found, the correct amount of breast tissue can be removed using a core needle (used to remove one sample) or vacuum-assisted device (used to remove multiple samples) after local anesthetic is administered to numb the area. The samples are then used to assist a physician in determining if the tested breast tissue is cancerous or non-cancerous.

The entire stereotactic breast biopsy process takes around 60 minutes. Patients can return to normal activities shortly after the procedure. Sample results are usually available to patients 48 hours after the procedure.