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St Marks Breast Centre

Private Service, Breast, Cancer Network Group, Radiology

Stereotactic Mammotome Biopsy

The mammotome breast biopsy system enables us to accurately diagnose areas seen on mammogram that are not able to be assessed by clinical examination or breast ultrasound. It is a type of biopsy where two images of an area on the (two dimensional) mammogram are taken to ascertain accurately it's location in three dimensions.

This new technique means that we can avoid a general anaesthetic and open surgical biopsy. Although it is safe to drive to and from your mammotome appointment, it is preferable to bring someone with you to drive you home. This procedure requires a little local anaesthetic in the overlying skin and deeper tissue and takes about 45 minutes. You are lying comfortably face down on a special bed with your breast placed through an opening. The breast is semi-compressed between the mammogram plates as the full pressure required for mammogram pictures is not necessary.

Using a special computer attachment, we can calculate the precise spot we want to biopsy. Firstly, x-rays are obtained on the digitalised computer screen. Then local anaesthetic is injected into the skin and deeper tissues. Additional x-ray film views are done at this stage to make sure that everything is in the right position. A small cut is made in the skin so we can pass the mammotome needle into the area. Using a gentle suction device, tissue is drawn into the hollow chamber of the probe. Further x-rays may be done at this stage to ensure that the tissue is from the correct area. The system's state-of-the-art technology means several tissue specimens can be obtained through a single needle insertion.

When the procedure is finished the mammotome needle is removed and pressure applied. Steristrips are used to close the edges of the cut and a waterproof dressing applied. This should remain in place for 24 hours after which it can be removed. Avoid direct knocks to the breast and strenuous exercise the following day. Stitches are not required to close the wound and any evidence of the procedure will not be apparent after 6 months. We recommend that you remain at the clinic for approximately 40 minutes after the procedure to ensure there is no further bleeding. 

This page was last updated at 11:03AM on December 21, 2021.