Techniques for Evaluation of Breast Abnormalities

Often, abnormalities or lumps are detected during the physical examinations such as mammography or other kind of studies. However, sophisticated techniques need to be utilized to identify the nature of the growth, whether cancerous or benign.

At times, an abnormally small growth or mass is present in the breasts of a woman. The mass may be too small to be felt by the person. Therefore, it cannot be located by hand or during self-examination. Consequently, image-guided biopsy needs to be carried out for evaluation of masses.

Stereotactic breast biopsy is another technique that is used for evaluation of masses. This is utilized when breast abnormalities such as a suspicious solid mass, micro-calcifications or a new mass is detected during mammography. In this procedure, a special mammography machine utilizes ionizing radiation to direct the instruments of a radiologist to the area of abnormal growth. Besides this, stereotactic breast biopsy is also conducted when a patient or doctor chooses a non-surgical method for evaluation of a breast abnormality.

Stereotactic guidance finds usage in two different biopsy procedures, vacuum-assisted device and core needle. While the vacuum-assisted device employs a vacuum-powered instrument for collection of different tissue samples during a single needle insertion, core needle utilizes a large hollow needle for removal of a single sample of breast tissue per insertion.

Stereotactic mammography helps in pinpointing the accurate location of the breast masses by using x-rays and computer imaging from two different angles. The use of these computer coordinates enables a radiologist to insert needle through the patient’s skin. Next, the needle is advanced into the lesion and removal of tissue samples takes place.

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