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Mammorable patient

Surgeon's Blog - 25/09/2006 16:52:00

It was so unusual that I wanted to write it up and send it to a journal for publication. But I didn't want to embarrass my colleague, who was a good guy. So I tell the story here for the first time. When something shows up on a mammogram that warrants investigation, but can't be felt, you need to sample it using some form of Xray guidance. (If you can feel it, you can poke a needle into it in about two seconds, taking a sample for analysis. Or do a surgical biopsy. But when you can't feel it, there's no simple way to get at it in the office.) There are two main choices: wire localization, or sterotactic biopsy. In the former, the radiologist guides a wire to the area, and the surgeon then operates, following the wire to the target. In the latter, the radiologist does the whole procedure, with the woman lying prone, breast hanging down into a device which is aimed by Xray and then sends a biopsy-needle to the zone. There are, as usual, pros and cons of either method. Choosing one over t

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