Breast Procedures

When abnormal breast tissue cannot be differentiated by physical examination or medical imaging, a biopsy can be used to define the true nature of abnormal areas found on ultrasound or mammography.

Breast Procedures

Fine Needle Aspiration (FNA) and Core Biopsy

Abnormal breast tissue is usually detected by physical examination, ultrasound or mammography. However, imaging tests can’t always differentiate benign lesions from cancer, and so FNA and core biopsy are used to define the true nature of abnormal areas found on ultrasound or mammography.

A specialised radiologist will perform the FNA, and it is carried out under ultrasound guidance to ensure the area of concern is targeted. Local anaesthetic will be administered to skin and surrounding breast tissue, then a fine needle is inserted into the abnormal area and cells are aspirated for viewing under a microscope. At The Women’s Imaging Centre we have an expert cytologist onsite during these procedures to ensure an adequate sample has been obtained.

Any discomfort after the procedure can be relieved with paracetamol. Breast FNA does not scar the skin and there is a very low risk of infection.


Stereotactic Vacuum Assisted Core Biopsy

Stereotactic Vacuum Assisted Core Biopsy is a safe and minimally invasive procedure in which a sample of breast tissue is removed from a lesion within the breast to be examined by a pathologist. When breast imaging shows up very small abnormalities too small to be felt, vacuum assisted core biopsy is used to obtain samples of the breast tissue, and is used as an alternative to surgical biopsy.

Mammographic images will be taken to identify the lesion, and the procedure is performed under mammography guidance to ensure the specialist radiologist performing the biopsy is concentrating on the area of concern.

Following the injection of local anaesthetic into the skin and surrounding breast tissue, a fine needle is inserted into the lesion where several samples may be taken.  The majority of women only experience mild discomfort.  After the specimen has been obtained the radiologist may insert a small surgical marker at the site of biopsy, this is done so that the area of abnormality can be located at a later date if surgery is required. These surgical clip markers are safe, cannot be felt, and do require removal.


Pre Operative Breast Hookwire Localisation Mammography

The purpose of this procedure is to localise a lesion in your breast prior to surgery.  It is usually performed at The Women’s Imaging Centre a few hours (or less) before you have surgery.

Mammographic images will be taken to identify the lesion, and the procedure is performed under mammography guidance to ensure the specialist radiologist performing the hookwire is concentrating on the area of concern.

Following the injection of local anaesthetic into the skin and surrounding breast tissue, a fine needle is inserted into the lesion. A fine localisation wire is inserted through the needle and the needle is removed leaving the wire in place.

A final mammogram is performed to check the wire position and ensure it is taped securely to the lesion.  The surgeon will remove the wire together with the abnormality at the time of your operation.

Minor complications may include some bruising or bleeding at the time of the procedure, however it is a simple procedure to perform and most women have no problems.

The hookwire can move after placement before having the surgery which reduces the accuracy of surgery.  Please be very careful that the wire does not become dislodged before your surgery as this may occasionally occur with very little movement.

The hookwire localisation clearly marks where the abnormal tissue is located and enables the surgeon to remove the smallest amount of abnormal tissue identified on the mammogram.  The shape of the breast can be preserved as far as possible as only abnormal tissue is removed (with a margin of clear tissue around it).

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