The Breast Center

The Breast Center

Since its opening in 1997, The Breast Center has performed more than 5,000 minimally invasive breast biopsies, almost 100 biopsies every month.

Pre-Registration and Your Costs
Preparing for Your Biopsy
Breast Center

About The Breast Center

The Breast Center at The Surgery Center of Huntsville is a state-of-the-art facility specifically designed to promote excellence in both patient care and outpatient surgery. Since its opening in 1997, The Breast Center has performed more than 5,000 minimally invasive breast biopsies, almost 100 biopsies every month. The Breast Center and key staff have been recognized nationally for excellence in the field of breast cancer diagnosis.To help make an early diagnosis of breast cancer, which may significantly impact outcomes, we use stereotactic- and ultrasound-directed techniques that produce exceptionally low complication rates and excellent diagnostic results.

We have other state-of-the-art facilities at The Surgery Center of Huntsville. In addition to The Breast Center, we have sixteen general operating rooms, four Endoscopy Center colonoscopy special procedure rooms, four Eye Center procedure suites and a Pain Management Center procedure suite. We also have two spacious waiting rooms for family and friends and an Extended Care Center for those patients who need up to 23-hours to stabilize before going home. Our staff and facilities were designed with your complete care and comfort in mind.

About Biopsy

Your physician has explained that the results of a breast ultrasound or mammogram have identified an area in your breast that should be explored through a biopsy. A fairly simple procedure, a breast biopsy is done by guiding a needle into the tissue and extracting a sample, or by cutting into the breast and removing an abnormality for further study. The sample is then sent to pathology. Early diagnoses and treatment are a major factor in treating any type of cancer, especially breast cancer.

At The Breast Center, we have the equipment to support more than one type of biopsy, but the decision about what procedure is best for you will be made by your physician. He or she will decide if an abnormality can be removed or sampled for study based on how it feels or what can be seen on your mammogram or ultrasound. Your general health and any medications you are taking may also influence that decision.

If your physician chooses to do a needle-biopsy, The Breast Center has a state-of-the-art vacuum-assisted Mammotome® Biopsy System. This system provides for maximum patient comfort while giving your physician advanced imagery to help guide the needle into place for accuracy, as well as the flexibility to take a sample from more than one abnormality if necessary.


This procedure involves first taking two stereo x-rays, so called because they are images of the same area from different angles. With the help of a computer, these images are then used to determine the exact positioning of the biopsy needle and the physician positions the biopsy needle for the correct angle of entry. Once the breast is numbed, the needle is inserted and another set of stereo x-rays is taken to ensure proper needle placement. Tissue samples are retrieved for pathology and the procedure is complete.


This procedure involves using ultrasound to guide placement and insertion of the biopsy needle. Once the breast is numbed locally, the physician uses ultrasound technology to ensure proper placement of the biopsy needle. Tissue samples are then retrieved for pathology and the procedure is complete.


This procedure is performed in a general operating room under general anesthesia. The breast abnormality is surgically removed and sent to pathology. Some excisional biopsies are also pre-operatively wire localized under x-ray stereotactical or ultra-sound guidance.

About Your Biopsy

Once you have checked in and completed any financial paper work, you will be escorted to the procedure room and prepared for your biopsy. You can expect the following things to happen:

  • We will review your medical history.
  • We will give you instructions about your biopsy.
  • We will ask you to sign your Operative Permit.


We do everything we can to get you in and out as fast as possible, but once you are in our care, you will be there for the full amount of time required to ensure an excellent outcome.

You may find the breast biopsy suite to be cool. The suite is temperature controlled to establish ideal conditions for medical procedures.

We will respect your dignity as we work to ensure that your biopsy is conducted promptly, accurately and safely. When the procedure is complete, you will have a bandage on your breast. A staff member will be with you until you are ready to leave.

Your family should be available for the Post-Op conference.

Immediately following your procedure, your physician will most likely go to The Breast Center waiting room to update your family. It is your family’s responsibility to be available for this conference.

Following Your Biopsy

Remember that a biopsy is an invasive procedure. It is very important that you be gentle with yourself for a few days after your procedure. Be sure to follow any specific instructions given to you by your physician, as well as the following general guidelines, upon your release from The Breast Center:

  • If you have received medication during your biopsy you must have someone drive you home from The Breast Center.
  • Avoid strenuous exercise or activities for at least 24-hours after your procedure.
  • Wear a tight fitting bra — even while sleeping — to decrease swelling and bruising.
  • If you are experiencing discomfort, take over-thecounter medication as directed, or whatever your physician has prescribed for pain.
  • Do not take aspirin for 48-hours following your procedure to minimize the risk of bleeding.
  • If you have one, you can take your pressure dressing off the morning after your biopsy.
  • Do not remove your steri-strips or tegaderm dressing for at least 4 days following your biopsy.
  • Although you may shower or bathe the morning following your procedure, do not submerge your breast in water for at least 5-7 days.
  • If you have excessive pain, bleeding or fever, contact your physician immediately.


Remember, it is very likely that you will have additional questions once you get home and results from any tests may take several days to process. Therefore, it is a very good idea to schedule a follow up appointment with your physician a few days after your procedure.

If you have any questions after you have left The Breast Center, you must call your physician for answers. If you have any serious complications, call 911 or go to the emergency room at the hospital of your choice immediately. Do not call or return to The Breast Center because we do not have staff physicians, nor are we equipped to provide additional treatment or medical care.

To ensure that your day at The Breast Center is all about you and your care, you should pre-register for your procedure by calling us at 256-533-4888. In addition to reserving your treatment room, we can take care of the financial arrangements prior to your arrival. Our fees will include the costs of preparing for the biopsy, the procedure suite, all supplies and equipment, and nursing and staff care up to the time of your release.

UPON your arrival, you will be asked to present your insurance card and a photo ID. We will file your insurance, but if we have not received payment within 45 days, you will be responsible for the balance. If you are a MEDICAID patient, you will be asked to present a current, valid MEDICAID card.

IF YOU plan to pay cash, or are uninsured, you will be asked to make payment prior to the date of your biopsy. If necessary, we can work with you, but arrangements must be made in advance. Prior to admittance, you will be asked to pay the following:

  • Your co-pay
  • Any remaining deductible
  • Any costs your insurance will not cover

IN ADDITION, you may be billed following your biopsy for any unplanned product or service deemed medically necessary by your physician. You may receive separate bills from other doctors and service providers based upon the care and treatment you have received. These billers may include the following:

  • Your physician
  • The pathologist
  • Any laboratory services, including blood work
  • Other professional or service fees based upon your treatment and care

Your physician will have given you instructions on what you need to do to prepare for your biopsy, including specific instructions on what you may eat or drink prior to your procedure. In addition, you should do the following prior to your arrival at The Breast Center:

BE SURE to call us at 256-533-4888 to pre-register for your procedure and make financial arrangements.

ENSURE that you have an escort to take you to and from The Breast Center. If you receive medication you will not be able to drive yourself home. This person will need to remain at The Breast Center during your procedure.

MAKE sure you have a list of phone numbers for your important contacts.

You Must Have an Escort.
You may not be able to drive yourself home following your procedure.

DOUBLE check to be sure you have your insurance card and driver’s license or other photo ID.

IF YOU take any herbal supplements, stop taking them at least a week prior to your procedure. This includes doctor recommended supplements, as well as the ones you may be taking on your own.

BRING a sports bra or other tight-fitting bra to wear home and for several days following your biopsy.

Do Not Eat or Drink the evening before your surgery as directed by your Physician.

TAKE a bath or shower and do not use deodorant or lotion.

LEAVE all your valuables at home, including your watch and any rings or earrings, including wedding or commitment rings.

DRESS comfortably and casually in loose clothing and comfortable shoes that you can slip onto your feet.

DOUBLE check your arrival time. It is critical that you arrive on time in order to complete your admission paperwork and give your medical history.

Bring Your Insurance Card and Photo ID.

ROUTINE oral medications should be taken according to your doctor’s instructions.

IF YOU take insulin, aspirin, Coumadin® or other blood thinners, or any appetite suppressants, you need to make certain that your surgeon is aware of them. You may need to follow special instructions prior to your procedure if you take any one of these medications.

IF YOU are pregnant or think you might be pregnant, notify your physician and The Breast Center immediately. Medications may be harmful to a developing fetus.

IF YOU have any changes in your health, report them to your surgeon. Even minor changes such as a scratchy throat, cough, cold or fever could be important information to share.

If for any reason you cannot keep your appointment, please notify us as far in advance as possible by calling 256-533-4888.

Please Remember....

Call 256-533-4888 to Pre-register.

Make Sure You Have an Escort.

Do Not Eat or Drink Anything After 11:00PM the Evening Before.

Bring Your Insurance Card and Photo ID.

Inform Your Anesthesiologist About Any Dental Appliances.

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