Biopsy procedure offers options for patients

By Kristy D. Carter -

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A minimally-invasive breast biopsy procedure that was introduced at Sampson Regional Medical Center just over a year ago has offered local physicians a more accurate sampling of breast tissue from a suspected abnormality found on a mammogram.

Since June 2015, there have been 29 patients who have benefited from the new procedure that allows patients to have the procedure done and return to their normal activities on the same day.

“It is a simple outpatient procedure that takes very little of the patient’s time,” Laura Honeycutt, director of radiology and cardiopulmonary services, said. “Since most biopsies are negative, this is an easy way to determine if further testing is needed. Therefore, only patients that need an open biopsy have to go on to further testing.”

According to general surgeon D. Mariana Mendible, Stereotactic breast biopsy is the standard of care for biopsy of mammographic micro calcification clusters and mammographic abnormalities not visualized on a breast ultrasound.

“We have expanded our women’s services to add this minimally invasive option to our patients to help better sample suspected abnormalities of the breast and reach a prompt and accurate diagnosis,” Mendible said.

While there are many benefits to the procedure, patients are finding that what is a scary situation is easier than the old way of completing biopsies.

“They can have an easy outpatient test to determine an outcome,” Honeycutt stated. “The test is simple, without any sedation necessary. The patient comes in as an outpatient and the procedure takes about an hour. Only local anesthetic is used.”

According to Honeycutt, when the procedure is finished, a bandage is applied and a soft cold pack is used to help keep bruising to a minimum. Patients are able to walk out afterwards and normal activity can be resumed after the procedure if the patient is feeling well.

Previously, patients had to undergo open biopsies, which were more invasive and required sedation and surgical cutting. Once the Stereotactic biopsy has been performed, physicians have options of how to go forward with further testing. Open biopsies are “bypassed” until it is determined it is actually needed.

“This is a very scary time for a patient to go through,” Mendible shared. “We are able to obtain a sampling of the breast tissue in a minimally invasive way that requires no open surgery, no general anesthesia or sedation, no stitches and allows the patient to recover almost immediately.”

During the procedure, Mendible said the biopsy is completed by using a computer to guide a needle to a breast abnormality. The computer uses stereo-imaging to take two images of the breast to produce a three-dimensional location coordinate of the breast abnormality, which the needle is then inserted to retrieve a tissue sample. This procedure is less invasive than the previously completed surgical biopsy, leaving little or no scarring on the patient. The procedure is much faster, typically taking no longer than 15 minutes to complete.

According to Mendible, once the procedure is complete, a pathologist will review the sampling and the results are returned to the surgeons within a week.

“With any discovery of cancer, early detection is key so the patient may have the best prognosis,” Mendible said. “Stereotactic breast biopsy provides an extremely accurate result, through a simple and safe procedure for the patient.”

For more information about Stereotactic breast biopsy please call the diagnostic center at 910-592-2689 or the surgical services clinic at 910-596-6113.

By Kristy D. Carter

Reach Kristy D. Carter at 910-592-8137, ext. 2588. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd. Like us on Facebook.

Reach Kristy D. Carter at 910-592-8137, ext. 2588. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd. Like us on Facebook.

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