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Core Needle Biopsy

Percutaneous procedures provide alternatives to open surgical biopsy. The patient lies face down on a special table, similar to a mammogram table, which allows the physician to get a clear mammographic image of the area to be sampled.  The breast protrudes through a hole after being lightly compressed to immobilize it.The table is connected to a computer that processes digital images.  Placement of the sampling device is guided by a computerized system using image-guided X-rays.

The physician makes a small incision in the skin, through which a device is inserted to obtain a tissue sample.  These minimally invasive procedures include core needle biopsy and Mammotome breast biopsy.

Core Needle Biopsy

In this procedure, a needle is "fired" into the lesion to obtain a core sample for analysis.The needle must be removed and re-inserted into the breast multiple times, after each of the core samples is taken.  Ten to 20 samples are usually required.

Mammotome Biopsy

In contrast to open surgical biopsy and core needle biopsy, Mammotome biopsy is vacuum-assisted and requires only one insertion of a small sampling probe.  The Mammotome System gathers samples by using a gentle vacuum to repeatedly draw tissue into the hollow chamber of a probe.  The system is directional, meaning that it can obtain multiple specimens without having to be repeatedly removed and inserted.

Unlike surgery, Mammotome biopsy requires just 1 hour and is performed in an outpatient treatment area, not an operating room setting.  It does not involve general anesthesia or sutures.  Following the biopsy, the patient goes home with a small adhesive strip to cover the incision site.

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