Drs Burger radiologists inc

Breast Biopsy Procedures

Drs Burger Radiologists Inc. is a radiology practice providing diagnostic imaging services at several sites in Pretoria and Johannesburg. The team consists of 20 radiologists ensuring a wide variety of skills and expertise.

Our Unitas Hospital branch is fully equipped to provide the imaging services needed to diagnose, biopsy, and provide cancer staging.

Services at our Unitas branch include general radiology (X-rays), ultrasound, mammography with tomosynthesis (3D mammography), CT, and MRI; including sonar and stereotactic biopsy and localisation techniques.

Netcare Unitas Hospital, Centurion  |  Enquiries: 012 664 1013/4  |  Email: unitas@drsburger.co.za

Passionate 100%
Patient-Centered 100%

Dr. Heleen Hanekom is a general radiologist with a passion for breast imaging. She drives the breast imaging initiatives at the practice and strives to provide high-quality service with a gentle, patient-centered approach.

Breast Biopsy procedures


An ultrasound-guided biopsy is a procedure where a needle is used to obtain a small tissue sample for laboratory analysis. Ultrasound is used to visualise and guide the needle to the area where the sample needs to be taken.


A stereotactic biopsy is a procedure where a needle is used to obtain a small tissue sample for laboratory analysis.

This is a specific type of biopsy for lesions that cannot be seen on ultrasound. The mammogram unit is used to guide the biopsy needle to the area where the sample needs to be taken.

The biopsy is taken with a vacuum assisted needle. This means that a gentle vacuum is applied to the needle to ensure that an adequate sample is obtained.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Wear loose fitting clothing, preferably a separate top and trousers, as you will have to partially undress for the procedure, similar to a mammogram.
  • Do not wear any deodorant, lotion or powder under your arms or on your breasts on the day of the procedure.
  • Inform the radiology department if you have a blood clotting disorder or if you are taking any blood thinning medication, including Aspirin, Warfarin and Clopidogrel. These medications might need to be stopped a few days prior to the procedure.
  • Inform the radiology department if you have allergies to any medication or dressings.
  • You may eat something beforehand as fasting is not required for the procedure.
  • A friend may accompany you to the department but will not be able to be in the examination room with you during the procedure.
  • Plan to spend at least an hour in the radiology department to allow time for completion of documents, changing etc. The procedure itself will take approximately half an hour.
  • The biopsy is performed in the sonar room, similar to a breast ultrasound.
  • The biopsy is performed under local anaesthetic, and you will be awake for the entire length of the procedure.
  • After the biopsy, a small metallic clip is placed in the area of the biopsy. This marks the area of the biopsy for future reference. The marker is harmless and does not cause discomfort.
  • You will be able to go home immediately after the procedure and you do not need to be admitted to the hospital.

Compress the area to avoid excessive bruising. An ice pack can be applied intermittently. It is normal to have bruising following the biopsy and you may feel a lump in the area of the biopsy immediately after the procedure.

The dressing should remain in place for two to three days after which it can be removed. The area should be kept clean and dry until it heals.

The local anaesthetic will wear off within a few hours. If you experience pain, pain medication such as paracetamol (Panado) can be taken. A supportive, soft bra may help with the discomfort.

You can return to your normal activities immediately. You should avoid strenuous exercise or heavy lifting for the day after the procedure as this may cause bleeding or excessive bruising.

If bleeding occurs after you have left the department, apply firm pressure with a flat hand to the biopsy site. If the bleeding continues for longer than 5-10 minutes despite compression, you should contact the radiology department or referring doctor. Alternatively, please visit your nearest Emergency unit if you require urgent care.

The results will be sent directly to the doctor who referred you for the biopsy, usually a general practitioner, gynaecologist or surgeon. It may take up to 7 working days for the results to become available. You can make an appointment with your doctor for 1 week after the biopsy to obtain the results.

The risks include bleeding, bruising, swelling and pain at the biopsy site. Rarely, infection can occur.

There may be a small scar on the skin in the area of the biopsy.

There is a chance that the tissue sample may not be adequate. In such a case, another procedure may be necessary.

If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact the radiology department directly.