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Breast Biopsy

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Stereotactic breast biopsy is a form of image-guided biopsy that uses mammography to help your radiologist locate an abnormality, then guide a core-sampling needle to the area to remove a small amount of tissue. This tissue sample is then sent to a lab for analysis.

Done at ARA facilities, stereotactic-guided breast biopsy uses local anesthesia, takes about an hour to an hour and a half, is much less invasive than surgical biopsy and leaves little or no scarring.

A breast biopsy is often recommended based on an abnormal finding on a mammogram or other form of breast imaging. Most breast masses or other changes are not cancer, but a biopsy is the only way to be sure if a breast change is benign (not cancer) or malignant (cancer).


  • Stereotactic breast biopsy is less invasive than surgical biopsy, can be performed quickly, heals quickly, and leaves little or no scarring. After avoiding strenuous physical activity for a day, you are able to resume normal activities.
  • Stereotactic breast biopsy can be performed at ARA facilities – no hospital visit is necessary.
  • It is an excellent type of biopsy to evaluate calcium deposits or masses not visible on ultrasound.
  • It is less expensive than surgical biopsy.
  • Stereotactic breast biopsy can be done using local anesthetic.
  • No radiation remains in the patient’s body after an X-ray exam and X-rays typically have no side effects.


  • There is a small risk of bleeding or the formation of a hematoma.
  • There can be discomfort and some pain, but this is easily controlled by non-prescription pain medication.
  • The mammogram used to help locate the biopsy site uses X-ray radiation. However, the amount of radiation from a mammogram is very small and the benefit of an accurate diagnosis far outweighs the risk. Get more information from Get more information on radiation safety at ARA.
  • There is a small chance of infection at the biopsy site. You will be given instructions on how to care for the tiny incision, but infection is very rare.
  • Women must always let the mammography technologist know if they are pregnant.
  • Prior to the biopsy, a technologist and radiologist will explain the procedure thoroughly and answer any questions you may have.
  • When you arrive, you will be asked to change into a gown.
  • You will be positioned sitting or lying down on specially designed biopsy equipment. Your breast will be positioned between a paddle and the image detector, just as in normal mammography, and compressed to hold it in place.
  • A local anesthetic will be applied to numb the skin and tissue underneath.
  • Using the mammographic image for guidance, a needle will be inserted into the suspicious area to obtain tissue samples. This may be done several times to make sure enough of the area is tested.
  • A small clip will be placed in the sampled area to mark the location of the biopsy, and mammogram images will be taken to record the position of the clip. This is done so that radiologists who read your mammograms in the future will know that a biopsy has been performed in that area of your breast.
  • Most patients report only mild discomfort from the biopsy.
  • After the biopsy, a bandage is placed on the breast. There is usually little bleeding and little or no scarring.
  • The biopsy procedure takes approximately 5 minutes. You will be positioned on the specially designed biopsy equipment for 20 to 30 minutes and in the ARA offices for an hour to an hour and a half.
  • Please plan to relax the day of your biopsy. We also request that you avoid strenuous activities such as intensive exercise, running, or lifting heavy objects for the rest of the day.
  • Make sure and bring your provider referral to your appointment.
  • If you take any blood-thinning medications, aspirin, or products containing aspirin, please contact our office for instructions on discontinuing the medications prior to your biopsy.
  • Please bring or wear a tight-fitting bra for after the procedure.
  • Since you will undress from the waist up for the exam, you may wish to wear a two-piece outfit.
  • The exam will last one and a half to two hours.

To schedule, please call our scheduling team at (512) 453-6100 or toll free at (800) 998-8214. A provider referral is required to make an appointment.

Your tissue sample will be sent to a lab for analysis. Depending on the lab, results will be sent to your physician within 2 to 3 days. Please contact your physician for your test results.

ARA wants to provide a safe, comfortable environment for patients and staff.

Patients may either bring or request a chaperone to accompany them during their exam to help protect and enhance their safety and comfort.

When requested, ARA will attempt to provide a chaperone with whom the patient feels comfortable. If a patient’s chaperone request cannot be accommodated, the patient will be given the opportunity to reschedule their exam.


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