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Diagnosis through Biopsy

A mammogram may reveal an abnormal lump or lesion in the breast which cannot be felt. A biopsy will clarify whether a lump is a benign or malignant (cancerous) lesion. A biopsy is the only method of determining whether a breast abnormality is cancer. This removal (tissue sampling) of the tissue can be done through surgery or by needle. The type of procedure used is determined by the appearance, feel (palpability) and location of the lump or abnormality. When the tissue is sampled, it is sent to a pathology lab for analysis.

Stereotactic-Guided Breast Biopsy – With the use of a specially designed table, two digital x-ray images are taken from different angles, allowing the radiologist to precisely localize the area to biopsied. Once the area has been located, the radiologist numbs the area with a local anesthetic, then uses computer guidance for precise needle placement and collection of small tissue samples.

Ultrasound-Guided Breast Biopsy – Ultrasound uses sound waves to produce a picture of the breast tissue. This picture helps identify lumps or other changes in the breast. The radiologist uses ultrasound to locate the area for biopsy and to direct the needle used in collecting breast tissue samples.

Both methods are as accurate as a surgical biopsy and are performed on an outpatient basis, taking less than an hour to perform and requiring no stitches. Furthermore, the patient can resume normal, non-strenuous activities immediately after the procedure is done.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging - Although this procedure is not a biopsy, a high quality magnetic resonance image of the breast may also need to be performed and can be done in the Radiology Department at Arnot Ogden Medical Center. Magnetic resonance imaging is a technique that is used to better define the presence, or state, of breast cancer. 

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