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Frequently Asked Questions

How to prepare for a Biopsy or Surgery

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Why a Stereotactic or Ultrasound Guided Vacuum Assisted Large Core Breast Biopsy?

A change in your breast or an abnormality may be detected by a Mammogram, Sonogram or MRI. A lump may also be found by you, Dr. Kaufman or another doctor. These findings may or may not be cancerous. In order to determine whether an area of concern is malignant (cancerous) or benign (non-cancerous), a biopsy is often needed.  A breast biopsy is the removal of a sample of breast tissue for examination in the lab and is the only definitive way to determine if an abnormality is cancerous or not. Fortunately, about 80 percent of biopsies result in a benign diagnosis. However, if cancer is present, it is crucial that you know the type and stage of the disease as early as possible. Through early detection and accurate diagnosis, more treatment options are available and a complete recovery is more likely.

What is a Stereotactic Vacuum Assisted Large Core Breast Biopsy?

A stereotactic breast biopsy is used to take tiny samples of your breast tissue that can be studied under a microscope. During this procedure, a picture of your breast helps Dr. Kaufman find the tissue to be removed. Stereotactic breast biopsy may prevent the need for an open, or surgical biopsy. Open biopsy is done by taking samples of tissue through an incision, or a cut in the skin performed in the operating room.
Unlike traditional open surgical biopsy, which requires a large skin incision and a spring loaded core needle biopsy which requires multiple insertions of that device, the more advanced Vacuum Assisted Large Core Breast Biopsy System requires only a single insertion and minimizes the removal of surrounding healthy tissue. This procedure requires a tiny nick in the skin with local anesthetic and can be performed on an outpatient basis.
The system is attached to a special stereotactic imaging table outfitted with X-ray equipment that takes pictures from two angles. The patient lies face down on the table where there is an opening for the breast. Once the abnormal tissue is located a local anesthetic is administered. Then the computerized imaging system guides a thin, rotating probe which is inserted into the breast one time. Once in position a vacuum system gently draws tissue into a sample chamber. A rotating device then cuts the tissue samples and sends them to a tissue collection device. The tissue samples are then packaged and sent to the pathology lab to be examined.

What Happens During a Stereotactic Vacuum Assisted Large Core Breast Biopsy?

You undress from the waist up and put on a gown that opens in the front. Then, you lie on your stomach on a stereotactic imaging table. Your breast is placed through an opening in the table. The skin on your breast is cleansed and then numbing medicine is administered with a local anesthetic, thus minimizing any discomfort. Your breast is then compressed between two flat plates in order to take a low-dosage x-ray. Through a very small incision, a thin biopsy probe is inserted and guided to the biopsy area. Several small samples of breast tissue are removed. After the needle is taken out, a tiny metallic marker will be placed at the biopsy site. A small bandage is placed on your skin along with an ice pack. You will now get dressed and go home soon after the procedure.

Preparing for a Breast Biopsy?

Before the biopsy, follow these and any other guidelines you were given:

  • Tell Dr. Kaufman what medications you are taking, including blood thinners, Aspirin, Advil, Motrin, Aleve, Ibuprofen, Vitamin-E  and all other vitamins and supplements. Ask Dr. Kaufman if and when you should stop taking them.
  • Wear a top that is easy to remove and bring your ssnug ports bra with you.
  • Shower thoroughly before the procedure. Do not wear perfume, deodorant, antiperspirant, lotion, powder, or any other substance on your skin.
  • Try to empty your bladder before the procedure so that you will be more comfortable during the procedure.

What Should I Do After a Stereotactic Breast Biopsy?

After the biopsy, follow these and any other verbal and printed guidelines you have been given by Dr. Kaufman:

  • Take it easy for 24 hours.
  • Ask how long you should use an ice pack over the biopsy are, when you can take a shower, remove your bandage and when you may resume medication like aspirin.
  • If you develop a fever, excessive bleeding, or other problems, call Dr. Kaufman for more instructions

Things to Know About Stereotactic and Ultrasound Guided Breast Biopsy

  • Stereotactic Biopsy involves compression of the breast. In this way it is similar to a mammogram. This can sometimes be uncomfortable
  • A Stereotactic Biopsy removes tiny samples of the suspicious tissue. A larger area of breast tissue may need to be removed at a later time
  • A Vacuum Assisted Large Core Stereotactic or Ultrasound Guided Breast Biopsy is 3 times more accurate than the smaller, more primitive Core Needle Biopsy in diagnosing conditions associated with early stage breast cancer
  • A Vacuum Assisted Large Core Ultrasound Guided Breast Biopsy is better at retrieving small masses, that are not palpable, than the older, smaller Core Needle Biopsy method

What about Partial Breast Radiation?

Partial Breast Irradiation is a relatively new treatment option for patients undergoing breast conserving surgery for breast cancer. In the past, following a lumpectomy to remove a tumor, patients often recieved radiation to the whole breast.
Currently, advanced techniques are available to most patients whereby we can treat the lumpectomy site and surrounding breast tissue with a small balloon or similar device placed within the lumpectomy cavity by Dr. Kaufman, usually  in the office. A radioactive source is then inserted into the device to deliver the radiation directly to the area where the cancerous tumor was removed. This type of treatment can be delivered quickly over a one week period. Treatments are administered twice per day six hours apart and last 15 minutes each. In contrast, standard whole breast radiation therapy is given over a five to six week period. Some of the benefits of this partial breast radiation treatment include shorter treatment time, less side effects and most importantly similar overall benefit and control of the cancer.

Please call our office to discuss this treatment with Dr. Kaufman.

Are you looking for additional information about breast cancer, breast disease, certain procedures or about surgery in general? Below is a list of sites that will help with your search for information.

Informative Medical Web Sites

National Institutes of Health
Avon Walk

Organizations & Societies

American College of Surgeons
American Cancer Society
American Medical Association
The Medical Society of New York
Nassau County Medical Society
Suffolk County Medical Society
American Society of Breast Surgeons
National Breast Cancer Foundation
Myraid Genetics & Laboratories