Installed when the Breast Health Centre first opened in 2006 its prone biopsy table needs to be replaced.
“The prone biopsy table allows physicians to biopsy using mammogram images for guidance,” explains Dr. Carolyn Flegg, radiologist. “It’s used for biopsy of something abnormal seen on a mammogram that cannot be seen with ultrasound.”
Dr. Flegg explains the procedure. “A patient lies on the biopsy table on her stomach and the breast goes through an opening in the table into the mammogram machine directly beneath the table. The breast is compressed in the same manner as for a regular mammogram, but the compression plate used has an opening in it through which the radiologist can insert the biopsy needle into the breast.”
Dr. Flegg says the current machine’s compression plate is entirely metal which means the mammogram taken for the biopsy shows only a very small part of the breast. “Before positioning the patient we have to estimate where the abnormality we’re targeting for biopsy is, and position that area in the small opening. If we estimate the position incorrectly, we have to reposition the patient and try again.
“It can be uncomfortable for patients because sometimes there’s the need to really maneuver a patient so the correct part of the breast can be biopsied. The current table doesn’t allow many options for positioning.”
Dr. Flegg says new tables have different options for sizing, allowing more room for getting the larger breast through. It lets doctors compress the breast from multiple different angles, allowing them the right angle and thickness for safe and accurate biopsy.
More accurate biopsy will let radiologists determine sooner if calcifications are benign, which they usually are. New tables also make it easier for them to obtain and process tissue samples.
The greatest advantage, though, is a diagnosis can be achieved without having to send a woman to surgery.