Breast Biopsy Options

Women have options when it comes to breast biopsies
Until recently, Cathy Salisbury's yearly mammograms showed no change. Then the radiologist recommended a biopsy.

Biopsy. The word brings with it unpleasant images and difficult questions. What's the next step? What about my family? How will I cope if my worst fears are realized? In reality, the vast majority of patients test negative for cancer, and women today have more less-invasive biopsy options than ever before.

Open Biopsy. Ten years ago, Cathy's only option would have been surgical, or open biopsy, requiring surgery, sutures, and general anesthesia. Open Biopsy usually requires placement of a needle under mammographic guidance. The patient than goes to the operating room where the surgeon makes an incision and removes the tissue around the needle. The skin is sutured and a drainage catheter is sometimes left in place. 

Today, she was able to take advantage of Oakwood's stereotactic breast biopsy option.
Stereotactic means "image guided" and, true to its name, stereotactic breast biopsy involves the use of mammogram images to pinpoint the "suspicious finding" and to show that the area is being accurately sampled. A needle is placed a single time to remove multiple tissue samples. The procedure takes about an hour, is performed under local anesthetic, and involves and incision less than one-quarter of an inch in length.

Sophia Roumanis, MD, director of the mammography division at Oakwood Hospital & Medical Center recommends this minimally invasive procedure (for the right candidates) because it allows women diagnostic accuracy equal to an open biopsy, with very little discomfort and deformity.

Ultrasound Guided Core Biopsy is another option available to patients. During a core needle procedure, radiologists use ultrasound instead of mammography to pinpoint the area of concern and assure that the correct tissue is sampled. Whether a patient is recommended for stereotactic biopsy or core needle biopsy depends on the appearance and sometimes the position of the suspicious area.

Dr. Roumanis explains that the only real difference is how the needle is guided. Both stereotactic and ultrasound core biopsies are minimally invasive - which means they produce very little scarring and require only a very small incision. In the end this means fewer lifestyle interruptions and more convenience. Cathy, who is an avid runner, was able to exercise normally the very next day.

Open surgical or traditional biopsy, however, remains a choice for some patients based on the appearance and location of the abnormal finding and patient preference. Together, you and your physician will find the best option for the accurate diagnosis you want and deserve.


Minimally invasive procedures are performed primarily at
Oakwood Breast Care Center - Dearborn
18100 Oakwood Blvd, Suite #200

Call 800.543.WELL for more information