Vacuum-Assisted Stereotactic Core Biopsy

A Vacuum-assisted stereotactic core biopsy (VAB) is a biopsy which removes a sample of tissue from the breast for examination by a pathologist.

  • About Vacuum-Assisted Stereotactic Core Biopsy

    The VAB is performed under mammographic guidance, allowing the area for biopsy to be accurately identified, using a special needle with suction to help get the sample from the breast. A Vacuum-assisted stereotactic core biopsy is performed to help determine the nature or diagnosis of a breast abnormality and to plan treatment if necessary.

  • Your appointment and preparation

    A referral from your doctor or medical specialist and an appointment is required for this examination. Please let us know when making your appointment if you are taking medication that makes you bruise or bleed easily.

  • What can I expect during my Vacuum-Assisted Stereotactic Core Biopsy?

    When you arrive at Apex Radiology you will be asked to remove all jewellery and clothing from the waist up, and change into a loose fitting examination gown.

    VAB is performed while sitting or lying in a special chair with the breast compressed in the same way as for a mammogram. Several keyhole images will be taken to accurately identify the area for the biopsy. The skin of the breast is then washed with antiseptic before a very fine needle is used to give local anaesthetic to numb the breast in the area for biopsy.  The local anaesthetic may sting for a few seconds when it is being given, and then the area will become numb. A small incision will be made and several samples taken. The biopsy procedure may sometimes feel uncomfortable but is usually not painful because of the local anaesthetic that has been given. The process of taking the biopsy lasts just a few minutes.After the samples have been taken, the biopsy area will be held firmly for a few minutes to minimize any bruising or bleeding, and then covered with a dressing that will be checked before you leave. Please allow about an hour for the procedure.

  • Who will perform my Vacuum-Assisted Stereotactic Core Biopsy and write the report?

    At Apex Radiology your Vacuum-assisted stereotactic core biopsy will be performed by a radiologist (a doctor specialising in medical imaging), who will prepare and send a report to your referring doctor detailing the procedure that has been performed. The results from the core biopsy will be provided by the Pathology provider that the sample is sent to.

  • What should I expect after my Vacuum-Assisted Stereotactic Core Biopsy?

    After the procedure, the biopsy site may be tender or show some bruising. You may place an ice pack over the biopsy site for 20 minutes. We suggest taking Paracetamol to reduce any discomfort. You will be able to leave the clinic shortly after the procedure.

    • You may drive yourself home after the procedure; alternatively, you may prefer to bring someone with you for support and to drive you home.
    • Most people find they can return to work the same day.
    • You should refrain from exercise for 24 hours following your biopsy.
    • Your dressing may be worn in the shower and removed after two to three days.
    • If your breast becomes red, swollen or tender in the days after your core biopsy please consult your referring doctor or contact our clinic to check the biopsy site.
  • How do I obtain my results?

    Results from VAB are usually available within 48 hours, but may take up to a week. Our nurses will ensure that you have an appointment either in our results clinic or with your referring doctor to get your results as soon as possible.

    Apex Radiology offers Vacuum Assisted Stereotactic Core Biopsy at:

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