BRISTOL – A new non-surgical breast biopsy unit at Wellmont • Bristol Regional Medical Center is saving time, money and – most importantly – lives.
The Fischer Mammotest Plus S Table installed this month at WBRMC utilizes stereotactic imaging to precisely pinpoint the location of suspicious masses in the breast. A radiologist then uses a biopsy needle to remove a tiny section of tissue for examination and diagnosis without surgery.
The new equipment replaces a previous stereotactic unit which had been in use at WBRMC since 1995. It is the first of its kind in the region.
“This new unit is more advanced, faster and provides better digital images,” said radiologist Brad Miller, MD. “It’s a real improvement from the perspective of both the patient and the physician.”
The American Cancer Society estimates one out of every nine women will develop breast cancer during her lifetime. In the past, an excisional – or surgical – biopsy was often necessary if a suspicious lump was located.
Today, however, physicians at both Wellmont • Bristol Regional and Wellmont • Holston Valley Medical Center are using the less-invasive stereotactic biopsy technique to diagnose malignancies. Stereotactic biopsies are less costly than their surgical predecessors and generally result in little pain or scarring.
“With this procedure, the patient has a skin nick and a bandage,” Dr. Miller said. “Whereas a golf-ball- to tennis-ball-sized portion of tissue is removed in a surgical biopsy, we are able to target the exact area of the suspicious tissue and remove only a tiny sample for an accurate diagnosis.”
A stereotactic biopsy typically takes less than 30 minutes, and the patient is able to return home following the procedure.