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My stereotactic biopsy experience

Chm8896 Member Posts: 9

ok ladies, just home from this procedure and thought I would share in hope of helping someone in the future facing the anxiety and worry.

History: I am 49, mom had bc that presented as a lump she discovered on her own at exactly same age as I am currently, but she avoided medical attention to it for 9 years. Yes 9 years. So she was diagnosed at 58, finally facing her fear of doctors and all the possible treatments etc after what turned out to be widespread mets to her bones and the consequent symptoms sent her for diagnosis and treatment. Stage IV at that point and she died exactly 4 years later. Needless to say I have lived since with a when will I get it, not if, attitude.

Baseline mammo at 35, called back for horrific spot compression views that made me scream in pain. Not good. Anywho after that I was somewhat good at 40 and on going for screening. At 44 first call back, needing ultrasound. After going to pcp and requesting radiology report, birads 0, likely cyst. It was. But the waiting between was torture. Happily sent on my way told to resume yearly. Didn't return till 3 years later,8/18, another callback. Just more pictures that time, compressed magnified views on left showing no concern. Again sent on my way. Phew.

Next screening mammo 12/19. Third time in a row a call back. Handling it better at this point. Go in again with idea I'd be sent on my way. Nope not this time. First after much waiting while still in gown, tech came back in for more pictures. First panic. I knew that wasn't a great sign. Radiologist finally came in to tell me there is indeterminate group of calcifications on right side and biopsy is recommended.

Back to pcp for referral. She didn't seem overly concerned. Got copy of mammo report and see birads 4, more worry. Her advice was do everything breast care center recommends, they are the experts. Meet with nurse practitioner at BCC as consult prior to procedure. She is great and helps to ease fears a bit. Saying in my particular reason for biopsy 90% is benign rate. But it was 3 weeks overall of torturous waiting and anxiety. About procedure itself and possible results.

So, of course I do hours of google searching. Assumed stereotactic meant I was in for lying on table with breast hanging like an udder. Seemed like cruel and unusual punishment and many times considered not doing it. But facing these fears where my mom couldn't bring herself to gave me some small comfort, that I am strong enough to go through with it and logic told me refusing would just postpone the inevitable.

On day before, yesterday, I asked a few questions of woman who called to confirm appointment. Assuming I would be on breast hanging down table, some had to do with that. Only then did I find out I would be seated upright. Seems they should let patient know that on main info form right from time appointment is made. Small comfort but seems a bit more sensitive to patient experience and comfort, gave me better outlook overall of procedure.

So here's the play by play. Appt at 8. Arrive 745, sign some forms, called back quickly and changed and waiting at 805. Tech comes in and talks to me 807 says we are waiting for doctor. I ask if it's woman, yes. So in the room were nurse, tech and finally at 820 the radiologist. She explained every step. I am in padded chair and wheeled to what looks like typical mammo machine. Compression and views taken. Very small prick for lidocaine. Radiologist assured me to let her know of pain at any point and they would give more. Not needed at all. Pictures checked. Then needle inserted (warned and given a 321 count and explained how important not to move here) didn't feel it a bit. More pictures checked. Correct position verified. Samples taken. Again no pain at all. Same with marker being placed, no pain

840 procedure itself done. Pressure held on site by nurse, then steri strips applied. Tech told me to let her know when I was ready for last Compression and pics to verify marker placement. In about 5 min I was. Then gauze bandage over strips. No shower or lifting for 24 hours. I was changed and walking out about 850.

All in all about a 2 in misery scale when I was expecting 10. About a 1 if that on pain. Feeling no discomfort now but that could change as numbness wears off.

Breast care center NP who I met with prior told me she will call with results and it should be Friday. 🤞🏼🤞🏼

Lots of detail but long and short of it is it wasn't even as close as bad to what I expected and worried about. Also much quicker. Much love to all in same situation and worrying. Hope my sharing can help in some way.


  • moderators
    moderators Posts: 7,886

    Dear Cam8896,

    Welcome to the BCO community. Thank you so much for sharing your story. We know that it means a lot to those members who are facing this procedure. We will be thinking of you and hoping for benign results on Friday. Please keep us posted on what you learn. Thanks again.

    The MOds

  • striveforhealth
    striveforhealth Member Posts: 59

    CHM8996 So glad your biospy procedure went without incident and that you came away being grateful for getting it done. KUDOS.

    My stereotactic biopsy in Dec was the breast hanging through the opening in the table variety... lol. It was a strange position to be placed in plus the radiologist sits on a stool low to the floor so you are actually looking down on the doc performing the procedure. I did have a small amount of pain/discomfort and later that day my breast was sore, and sore to touch for about 5 days afterwards. The entire bottom half of my breast became black and blue which I didn't expect. Like you, I felt it went well and was a small thing to go through to find out what my breast health was. The hardest thing about a biopsy is that waiting period to find out what's in the pathology report. Keeping a good thought for you and wishing you well.

    I'm very sorry your mother passed. It's significant that you know not to go the same route as your mom who ignored the importance of following up on her lump. No one replaces our mothers. I lost my mom to stage 4 cholangiocarcinoma. Unfortunately, this cancer doesn't present with symptoms until it's too late. My first cousin on my mother's side also died from Cholangiocarcimoma and he only lived 11 days after his diagnosis leaving 2 small children and a wife. :-(

  • ctmbsikia
    ctmbsikia Member Posts: 752

    You may have some pain later when the lidocaine wears off. I would ice your breast and have the Tylenol ready! Thanks for sharing!

    I'm getting ready to go for my 4th biopsy of my lifetime. I had the ultra sound guided needle core one, the stereotactic one in the mammo machine, and an MRI guided one where the Dr is on the floor almost on her knees. This one will also be in the MRI machine. All three bruised and hurt afterwards but not during the actual procedure, and the pain was nothing that Tylenol couldn't handle. Hoping you get benign results!

  • Chm8896
    Chm8896 Member Posts: 9

    Thank you so much for your reply! I am so sorry for the loss of your mom and cousin.
    Facing all these fears, unpleasant procedures, and waiting is just indescribable torture. Only told 2 close friends but no family, not wanting to worry them unnecessarily. Being able to share here really helps!

  • Chm8896
    Chm8896 Member Posts: 9

    yes thank you I’ve been icing all day. 🤞🏼

  • arizonaboundgal
    arizonaboundgal Member Posts: 38

    Good for you for mustering the courage to do the biopsy! Wishing you the best possible outcome. So sorry to hear about your mom.

  • Chm8896
    Chm8896 Member Posts: 9

    yes thank you I do feel a bit proud facing these fears come what may.

  • Joyfull2b
    Joyfull2b Member Posts: 16

    Hi and thank you for posting this. This helped me tremendously as I am having a core biopsy done this coming Tuesday! I am new to this so forgive me, but is a core biopsy the same thing as you had done? Like - is it the same procedure as you described?

  • Chm8896
    Chm8896 Member Posts: 9

    core I believe refers to the hollow needle used, and yes this was that type. Stereotactic involves the fact that mammography is used to guide the placement of needle. Good luck with your procedure

  • cowgirl13
    cowgirl13 Member Posts: 774

    Joyful, I had a core biopsy done and it didn't hurt at all. Just wanted you to know.

  • blah333
    blah333 Member Posts: 68

    I am glad you are not being avoidant like your mother. My grandmother got breast cancer and didn't treat it for years either, but I was a teenager. I should inquire more about the stage. She lived surprisingly long with it though. my friend lost his mom (in his 30s) because she ignored a call back about "something that was off" and she ended up having stage IV ovarian cancer.

    It's interesting the google spree you went on was of stereotactic biopsies etc. As soon as I was told I'd need a biopsy due to calcifications, I went home and spent days reading about calcifications, first how they form how to maybe get rid of them etc. It's insane and consuming... After I saw the images of the cluster and read more, I realized it was most probable that I would be told I had DCIS. That is usually associated with a cluster of calcifications.

    I had the boob through the hole in the table mammogram. Not sure how I would like or dislike being upright. I have certainly had biopsies laying on my back with a needle in my armpit for 1.5 hrs. The boob through the hole felt lonely and degrading. Like how the fuck did I get here ? I was 35 and not expecting to even need a mammogram until age 40.

    I also appreciate you writing for some imagined future reader that might be looking for info. I have scoured old posts of this board and also ramble sometimes repeat information about my circumstances.... as if some alternate reality version of myself will be doing searches on this forum hoping to find relevant info and having similar instances as me.

  • alicebastable
    alicebastable Member Posts: 1,936

    Did they give you an ice disc to take home? I wore it about 20 minutes out of every hour for a day or two and had no bruising or swelling (it slipped right inside my bra. I hung onto it and used it for the lumpectomy, too.

  • Chm8896
    Chm8896 Member Posts: 9

    blah333 - yes I’ve done plenty of searching on microcalcifications too. Unfortunately that is not very encouraging as most of the info found is situations where it is in fact an indicator of malignancy. Trying to stay focused on fact that the majority aren’t. One way or the other I should have answers tomorrow.

    AliceBastable - yes they gave a single use ice pack which I used on way home but it didn’t get very cold and just used ice in a ziplock the rest of the day.

    Update: sore today and definitely swollen. Tylenol is helping and it’s not too horrible. Took another day off so I can minimize movement and rest.

  • Chm8896
    Chm8896 Member Posts: 9

    I just got the call, wasn’t expecting them till tomorrow. BENIGN!!!!

    Hormonal, age related changes only 😀😀😀😀

  • super52
    super52 Member Posts: 61

    Chm8896-Congratulations on the great news!!! Your initial post caught my eye tonight because exactly one year ago today was my stereotactic biopsy of two different areas of calcifications. My biopsy was a little rough just due to the fact that both areas were positioned quite posterior, but the radiologist was creative with how she positioned me and was able to get to both. I remember every detail about that day like it was yesterday. Keep icing, and take it easy for as long as you need. I found that in addition to the tenderness around the area of the biopsy sites, my rib cage and sternum were also quite sore due to being compressed for so long, and a very lovely bruise eventually showed up which far outlasted the bruising I had from the lumpectomy which took place a few weeks later. Congratulations again! I love reading good news on this site. Celebrate! :-)

  • striveforhealth
    striveforhealth Member Posts: 59

    Congratulations on your BENIGN results!!! Best news ever for you. Now, take some deep breaths, make us all proud, and get on with your life. Blessings to you.

  • blah333
    blah333 Member Posts: 68

    very good!

    usually calcifications in clusters spell trouble, and the benign ones are more scattered. it's good you got them checked out properly and received good news!

  • Chm8896
    Chm8896 Member Posts: 9

    Thank you so much for the advice, support and well wishes on my results. Much love 💛

  • Rozatx
    Rozatx Member Posts: 2

    Thank you so much for posting this! I have 3 biopsies tomorrow - 2 in left with ultrasound guide, 1 right with that medieval X-raydevice (at least that’s what it sounds like) with my breast hanging thru a hole.

    Birad 5 in left so I am preparing myself but, honestly, the biopsy procedure has me in my nerves. Your play by play helps so much! I’m not nearly as nervous.

    I’m so glad to find this group. Y’all are such a wonderful resource for a newbie like me.

  • moderators
    moderators Posts: 7,886

    Rozatx,we're sorry you're here and waiting for your biopsies to be done, but we wanted to say welcome! We're glad you've found this wonderful, supportive place. Wishing you the best of luck tomorrow. We'll be thinking of you and sending you good vibes. Please come back to let us know how it goes.

    The Mods

  • Chm8896
    Chm8896 Member Posts: 9

    I am so glad you found my post helpful! Although it was well over a year ago I fully remember the terror I experienced leading up to the procedure. Sending prayers and wishing you luck today 🤞🏼

  • Janet_111
    Janet_111 Member Posts: 9

    Thank you so much for sharing

  • racheldog
    racheldog Member Posts: 209

    It has been three years since my BC diagnosis and lumpectomy , radiation and chemo. My life was now finally back on track. I recent 3D mammo showed something different on lateral side of L breast. The fairly young radiologist (but well trained) noticed an area that looked different and I got a Bi-rad 3, which is "possibly benign." He wanted a 6 mo diagnostic mammo f/u.

    I wanted a second read and asked for the Chief of the Dept. and she concurred that on area looked different. Had U/S which was inconclusive. So now next up is stereotactic biopsy. I agree to do this but need to ask those who have had this——what about positioning? I am not concerned with local anesthesia and the procedure BUT with shoulder and neck arthritis and s/p bilateral knee replacement my fear is the positioning!

    I cannot sleep on my stomach and joints are stiff. Please tell me about positioning for those of you who have had this done??