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Surgical Specialists

Comprehensive Breast Care

Having regular mammograms is only one part of ensuring a woman's breast health. When a mammogram comes back showing an abnormality, doctors typically recommend a biopsy to determine if the abnormality is cancerous or benign. There are several biopsy options, all of which the St. Charles Surgical Specialists offer.

Mammotome Biopsy System is an office-based procedure using ultrasound guidance under local anesthesia utilizing a tool (called the Mammotome) that is inserted through an incision the size of a match head. Using a gentle vacuum, the Mammotome removes a tiny amount of tissue and stores it in the hollow chamber of the tool, allowing the surgeon to take multiple samples without removing the Mammotone. The sample is then sent to a pathologist for analysis. A Mammotome biopsy is one of the numerous minimally invasive, technologically advanced procedures offered by our clinic.

The benefits of the Mammotome Biopsy method are numerous. Unlike a surgical biopsy, a Mammotome biopsy is performed with local anesthesia, requires a smaller incision and lasts about an hour. Patients don't require stitches and most are able to return to their normal activity level within a day or so. Most importantly, the procedure causes less internal scarring, which allows doctors to better detect new abnormalities on future mammograms.

Some abnormal mammogram results require an Open Surgical Biopsy because the growth is large or it cannot be easily felt during a physical examination. Depending on the type of open surgical biopsy, a patient may need general anesthesia or a combination of local anesthesia and intravenous sedation. The surgeon makes an incision, typically between one and two inches, where the abnormality was detected and removes a tissue sample. The incision is then closed with stitches and the sample sent to a pathologist for further examination.

Compared to other biopsies, surgical biopsies remove the largest tissue sample, ensuring an accuracy rate close to 100%. However, a surgical biopsy is not for every patient because it does require stitches and may leave a scar which could complicate future mammogram results. Also, the recovery time is typically longer than the other biopsies due to the anesthesia and surgical incision.

A Core Needle Biopsy is performed with a hollow needle, which is inserted into a woman's breast to remove small samples of tissue. Three to six separate core needle samples are typically taken to obtain a sufficient amount of tissue for testing by a pathologist. A patient's breast is locally anesthesized and most patients report experiencing slight pressure from the core needle, but little pain.

Core Needle Biopsies typically last a few minutes and most patients are able to return to their normal activity level immediately. A Core Needle Biopsy may leave a bruise, but should not leave scars, either internally or externally, that could interfere with future mammogram results.

Our clinic offers all of these biopsies as part of its comprehensive breast care. Our surgeons are also involved in cutting edge technology such as sentinel lymph node mapping and biopsy during breast cancer surgery.