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Cayuga Medical Center
101 Dates Drive
Ithaca, NY 14850

Convenient Care at Ithaca
Rte 13 & Warren Road

Commons Imaging
Route 281 & Commons Ave

Preparation Instructions
Stereotactic Breast Biopsy



We understand women at Cayuga Medical Center. We know that mammograms make women anxious and that waiting for exam results is stressful. We know that safety, comfort, and leading-edge technology are patient-care essentials. And we know that women want individualized, personal care.

 Our Breast Health Care program at Cayuga Medical Center provides this and more


● State-of-the-art technology, including four new GE Essential Digital Mammography units. The radiation dose from the GE Essential unit is 20-30 percent lower than any other system in the region.

● Mammography and Imaging Services in three locations: Cayuga Medical Center, Convenient Care at Ithaca, and Commons Imaging at Convenient Care in Cortland.

● Immediate mammography exam results before each woman leaves the department.

● When additional views or testing is required, such as ultrasound, these exams are performed during the same appointment.



● A staff of expert, empathetic professionals who specialize in breast care and who are genuinely concerned about the experience of each and every one of their patients.

● Only radiologic technologists who are women and who are certified in mammography and ultrasound perform exams.

● Immediate access to the radiologist who reviewed the exam when patients have questions or concerns.

● Separate and discreet Mammography suites at all three Imaging Services sites, for privacy and comfort.



● The full scope of services, including screening for prevention and early detection of disease, prompt and accurate diagnosis of breast disease, access to the very latest treatment protocols, educational programs, and emotional support.

● Accreditation by the American College of Radiology of all Mammography and Breast Care facilities.

● Board certified radiologists and mammography and ultrasound technologists.

● A Cancer Care Program that is certified by the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer

● An active network of community services



William Carroll, M.D., Ph.D.
Director of Women's Imaging and Mammographic Services


Screening Mammogram:  An x-ray study performed on a woman with no breast findings (breast lumps, pain, etc ) and no history of breast cancer.  All  screening mammograms are checked before the patient leaves, to ensure we don’t need additional images or sonography.

Diagnostic Mammogram :  A mammographic study designed to evaluate a breast abnormality such as a lump or thickening.  Patients with a personal history of breast cancer have diagnostic mammograms performed as follow-up.  A diagnostic mammogram consists of initial 2 views of the breast with additional views ordered by the supervising radiologist, tailored to obtain the most definitive images possible.  The additional views may be magnification views, spot views, and views at various angles.

Breast Sonography An ultrasound study of the breast using sound waves to characterize breast tissue, masses as cystic (fluid containing) or solid, and other lesions that are felt on physical examination but may or may not be seen on mammography.  Breast sonography is used primarily to sort out findings seen on mammography. 

Core Biopsy : A needle biopsy that takes out slivers of tissue for microscopic/pathologic evaluation.

FNA :  Fine Needle Aspiration biopsy - a “skinny” needle biopsy to remove a few cells and/or fluid for pathology/cytology.

Stereotactic Biopsy :    A type of core needle biopsy using a pair of digitally acquired mammographic images for guiding  a special needle system called the Mammotome Probe. 

Ultrasound guided breast biopsy : This is a core biopsy of the breast that uses ultrasound as guidance to optimize tissue collection.

Ultrasound guided breast cyst aspiration : This ultrasound guided needle procedure drains fluid from a breast cyst.  It may be performed to confirm that a mass is a cyst if the sonographic features are not conclusive or to treat a painful cyst by draining its fluid.


Our Patients Tell Us:

At Cayuga Medical Center, we ask every patient to tell us about her experience as our patient.

Here’s what our Breast Health Care patients have to say, taken from
Press Ganey mammography patient surveys.

“Excellent experience.”

“I was especially pleased to be treated with courtesy and respect.”

“The technician was very gentle and the procedure was as pain-free as I could expect.”

“Your outpatient services are some of the best in medical offices.”

“Politeness, congeniality, smiles, everything the greatest.”

“Uncomplicated – stress free”

“Was in and out so fast did not have time to look at magazine.”

“Would and do recommend your facility all the time.”

Preparations: - (Click on the preparation below for more information)
Click here for print friendly preparation directions.
Mammography Stereotactic  


What is the test?

Mammography is an x-ray test of the breasts and is the most sensitive way to identify early (small) breast cancers. The American Cancer Society recommends that a woman have a baseline mammogram when she is between the ages of 30 and 40, and annual mammograms after age 40. A mammogram is not a perfect test. Both breast self-examination and an annual physical examination by your health-care provider are important in detecting breast cancer.

A screening mammogram is performed routinely on a woman with no symptoms, to help identify breast abnormalities that are not clinically evident.

A diagnostic mammogram is performed to evaluate a lump, mass, nipple discharge, or other breast symptom, or to evaluate a finding that is identified on a screening mammogram.

How do I prepare?

Many women find they are more comfortable during the exam if they have not consumed caffeine (coffee, tea, cola, and chocolate) for at least 48 hours before a mammogram. Please plan to arrive 15 minutes prior to your scheduled appointment. On the day of the exam, do not wear deodorant or powder, as they can cause false abnormalities on the mammogram. You might want to wear a two-piece outfit because you will be asked to disrobe from the waist up and given a hospital gown to wear.

What can I expect during the procedure?

For a screening mammogram, two x-ray views of each breast are taken. In order to decrease x-ray exposure, and to better visualize the breast tissue, the breast is specially positioned and compressed for each mammographic view. As part of our commitment to customer service, Cayuga Medical Center radiologists immediately review all mammograms so our patients don’t have the anxiety of waiting for results.

For a variety of reasons, the radiologist may request that additional films be taken. This should not be a cause for alarm as extra views are taken often. Also it is not unusual for a breast ultrasound to be recommended as follow-up to a mammogram. If additional, specialized views are needed they are done right away. Mammograms are performed by x-ray technologists who have special training and education in mammography.

How and when will I get my test results?

A radiologist will interpret the mammogram while you wait and the results will be shared with you immediately. A full written report will also be sent to your referring physician, typically within 48 hours. Additional time (3 to 5 days) may be required if we are comparing these test results to previous findings from another hospital or health-care provider.

Where is the test performed?

Digital mammography is available at all three Imaging Services centers: Cayuga Medical Center at 101 Dates Drive, off NYS Route 96 in Ithaca; Convenient Care Center in Ithaca, Warren Road at Arrowwood Drive; and Convenient Care and Commons Imaging Center in Cortland, Route 281 at Commons Avenue.

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Stereotactic Breast Biopsy

These links give you information about the most common  imaging tests we do; what you need to do prior to the exam;  and what you can expect during the exam. Click here for print friendly copy of these preparations..

Imaging (Radiology) Procedures

What is the test?

Stereotactic breast biopsy is a nonsurgical method of collecting breast tissue for microscopic analysis. This type of biopsy is usually recommended to evaluate a mammographic finding.

How do I prepare?

Please plan to arrive 15 minutes prior to your scheduled appointment. On the day of the exam, do not wear deodorant or powder. We suggest that you wear a two-piece outfit because you will be asked to disrobe from the waist up and given a hospital gown to wear.

What can I expect during the procedure?

You will lie on your stomach on a special table that has an opening for the breast to hang through. The breast will be positioned and compressed similar to a mammogram. A pair of mammogram images will be taken from two specific angles. (This is a “stereotactic” pair of images.) This step allows the radiologist to precisely locate the area for biopsy. Local anesthesia is used to numb the biopsy site. A special needle is positioned in the breast at the site selected for biopsy and tissue samples are taken. The specimens are sent to pathology for analysis. Stereotactic biopsy takes about an hour and a half, and causes no permanent scarring or deformity in the breast.

After the test?

You may experience a little soreness in the area of the biopsy, but most women find sufficient relief from over-the-counter pain medicine such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen.

How and when will I get my test results?

Typically, within 48 hours a written report of your test results will be sent to your referring physician, who will review them with you. Additional time (3 to 5 days) may be required if we are comparing these test results to previous findings from another hospital.

Where is the test performed?

Stereotactic biopsy is performed at the Convenient Care Campus on Warren Road at Arrowwood Drive in Ithaca.

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Click here for print friendly preparation directions.


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