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Stereotactic breast biopsy pinpoints cancerous cells

Hospital news | Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Contact: John Broom

Mammograms are still considered the gold standard for early detection of abnormalities in breast tissue. However, there are times a physician needs to retrieve a cell sample to determine if cancer is present. In the past, that has meant cutting into the breast tissue to remove a sample of cells. Now, Ashtabula County Medical Center offers a new surgical procedure that is less invasive and one that patients say makes recovery faster and easier.

The procedure is known as a stereotactic breast biopsy. A surgeon or radiologist uses the stereotactic equipment right at the mammography unit to move a needle to the area of concern for removal of sample tissue. A Cleveland Clinic Radiologist at ACMC then views the sample in a specimen imager.

For the patient, the procedure takes less time than open surgery since a surgical suite is not needed and only a local anesthesia is used. Patients who have had the new procedure also say they are able to return to normal activities immediately since the procedure is less invasive.

“The word ‘cancer’ stirs ours emotions and sends our minds into a panic. Stereotactic breast biopsies using the specimen imager will provide our physicians quicker answers so they can reassure a patient the sample was not cancerous or begin talking about treatment options if cancer is present,” said ACMC President & CEO Michael Habowski.

Since the first step to detecting potentially cancerous cells in breast tissue is a mammogram, women should contact their physician for a referral to ACMC Diagnostic Imaging. Screening mammograms can be done in Ashtabula or Conneaut. ACMC Radiology is open Monday through Friday 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (on Tuesdays until 6:30 p.m.). Conneaut Family Health Center is open for mammograms Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.