New Technology Makes Breast Biopsies Less Invasive

November 3, 2009

For women at high risk of breast cancer or with certain types of breast tissue, breast MR screenings, in addition to annual mammograms, allow doctors to identify small tumors that otherwise may not have shown up on mammograms alone. However, even though MR (magnet resonance) technology allows the growth to be seen, whether it is benign or cancerous can only be determined through a biopsy procedure.

breastmrNow Floyd Memorial patients who have undergone breast MR and have detected growths have a less invasive option available. MR-guided biopsy is a new procedure that allows a radiologist to perform a tumor biopsy in the Radiology Department under local anesthetic, forgoing the need for surgical biopsy and general anesthesia (being “put to sleep”). Using MR-guidance to calculate the exact position of the abnormal tissue and verify the correct placement of the needle, the radiologist numbs the immediate area around the breast with local anesthetic, inserts a biopsy needle through the skin, advances it to the lesion and removes tissue samples for further examination under a microscope.

They are also able to leave behind a tiny “marker” that the general surgeon may use to more accurately locate the tumor in later surgeries should cancer be detected.

Benefits of MR-guided breast biopsy include:
• Little or no scarring
• Shorter procedure time
• Quicker recovery time
• Less risk after local vs. general anesthetic