Imaging studies can identify breast abnormalities, but a tissue sample (biopsy) is then needed to determine the nature of the abnormality. Stereotactic biopsy, also called X-ray-guided ray-guided biopsy, is a minimally invasive alternative to open or surgical biopsy. Because the procedure is minimally invasive, patients feel little discomfort and no stitches are required, resulting in less scarring than from surgical biopsies.

During the outpatient procedure, a thin, hollow needle is inserted into the abnormal tissue through a small nick in the skin. Two X-rays are taken and fed to a computer. Computer imaging is then used to guide the radiologist to the precise locations from which to remove small samples of tissue.