Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Breast Biopsy

The word biopsy can immediately evoke serious anxiety.  We’ve all heard the word before, and we usually associate it with cancer.  Well, we at least know they are looking for something that isn’t normal, and in our minds, that can’t be good. 

I am the type of person that needs to mentally prepare myself for something like this.  Birthday surprises are fun, but a biopsy – maybe not so much.   There are several different types of biopsies that your surgeon may perform to get a sample of your breast tissue, and each one is a little, or a lot, different.  Be sure you know what type before you get there.   Knowing in advance will give you an opportunity to look it up and feel somewhat more comfortable with the procedure.

I had three different biopsies done; an ultrasound guided core needle biopsy, a stereotactic biopsy, and an MRI guided biopsy.  Each of these were very different.  I feel I should also tell you all that I am a little needle-phobic, so my stress level grew from biopsy to biopsy.  All of which were performed within a few weeks. You may be wondering why I had to have three biopsies. After my mammogram and ultrasound (which were performed back to back on the same day), I was scheduled with a local surgeon to take a biopsy of my tumor.  The first, the core needle biopsy, actually bounced off the tumor and took tissue from the surrounding area.  Luckily my surgeon knew that was most likely the case and scheduled me for the stereotactic biopsy the following week.  This biopsy was successful, but with additional tests (MRI with contrast) we discovered a lump in my other breast.  At this point we were unable to see the margins clearly enough to take an accurate biopsy using ultrasound, so I was scheduled for an MRI guided biopsy. 

I could try to explain my experience with these, but I think the following web pages  and videos do a better job than I would.

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