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breast biopsy

Breast Biopsies: Types and Techniques – A Closer Look

Breast biopsies are critical procedures in the diagnosis and management of breast abnormalities, particularly in the detection of breast cancer. Valence Medical Imaging, with locations in Toronto, Brampton, Whitby, and Niagara Falls, remains at the forefront of diagnostic excellence, offering a comprehensive suite of breast imaging and biopsy options. This article delves into the various types and techniques of breast biopsies, underlining their importance in the continuum of breast health care.

The Importance of Breast Imaging:

Early detection is paramount in the successful treatment of breast cancer. Breast imaging techniques such as digital mammograms and breast ultrasounds are essential tools for identifying abnormalities. For instance, a digital mammogram—an advanced form of mammography—provides clearer images of the breast, especially beneficial for those with dense breasts. Moreover, the Breast Imaging-Reporting and Data System (BI-RADS) classification helps radiologists categorize findings from mammograms and ultrasounds to determine the need for further testing or a biopsy.

Breast Cancer Screening and Diagnostic Tools:

Screening for breast cancer typically involves a mammogram, but in cases where more detailed imaging is required, a diagnostic mammogram or breast tomosynthesis (3D mammography) might be recommended. These tools are invaluable in detecting early signs of cancer, especially in women with dense breast tissue where standard mammograms are less effective. Breast ultrasound is another technique used to visualize masses that are not seen on a mammogram or to further evaluate an abnormality detected on a mammogram.

Understanding Breast Biopsy:

When imaging tests indicate an area of concern, a breast biopsy is often the next step. This procedure involves the removal of cells or tissue from the suspicious area for examination under a microscope. There are several types of breast biopsies, each with its indications and techniques:

  1. Fine-Needle Aspiration Biopsy (FNAB):

The least invasive biopsy technique, FNAB uses a very thin needle to extract fluid or cells from a breast lump. This method is typically used when the lump is likely to be a fluid-filled cyst.

  1. Core Needle Biopsy (CNB):

Using a larger needle than FNAB, CNB removes a small cylinder of tissue from the suspicious area. Often guided by ultrasound or digital imaging, CNB can provide more definitive information about the breast tissue.

  1. Stereotactic Biopsy:

This type of biopsy is performed with the aid of mammography where precise 3D positioning locates the area of concern, particularly when the abnormality cannot be felt through a physical exam.

  1. Vacuum-Assisted Biopsy:

A vacuum-assisted device (VAD) is used to remove multiple samples of tissue through a single, small incision. This method can be particularly useful in cases of microcalcifications detected during a mammogram.

  1. Surgical Biopsy:

When a larger section of tissue is needed for analysis, or if the abnormal area is difficult to reach with other biopsy methods, a surgical biopsy is performed. It is generally more invasive and requires a hospital setting.

Techniques to Minimize Radiation Exposure:

Valence Medical Imaging is committed to patient safety, especially when it concerns radiation exposure. Modern breast imaging techniques are designed to keep radiation exposure as low as reasonably achievable while still providing high-quality images. New advancements in digital mammography and breast tomosynthesis have greatly reduced the amount of radiation patients are exposed to during these procedures.

Breast biopsies play an indispensable role in breast cancer detection and diagnosis. At Valence Medical Imaging, we offer a complete range of breast imaging and biopsy options, employing state-of-the-art technology to ensure precise and comfortable procedures. Our experienced radiologists use the BI-RADS classification to guide clinical decisions and biopsy recommendations, tailoring each approach to the specific needs of our patients from Toronto to Niagara Falls. We prioritize the safety and health of our patients, ensuring that each person receives the highest standard of care with minimal radiation exposure. If you need a breast biopsy or have questions about breast imaging techniques, contact Valence Medical Imaging to schedule an appointment and take an active step in your breast health journey.

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