Biopsy

I had my biopsy done today. I wasn’t sure if I should expect to have a lot of pain –during OR after the procedure.

The DURING was not the most pleasant experience, not from the biopsy, itself. It was from the crick in my neck from the “table” they use. I have no idea who designed this contraption but either they have no idea how women are actually built — that their breasts aren’t placed somewhere near their bellybuttons — or it was designed for elves.

The table is rectangular with a large (2 feet across, probably)  saucer shape in the middle leaving about 3.5 feet at the top and bottom of the table. The saucer had a hole in it large enough to fit your head through. The hole is where your breast hangs and is compressed by the Mammogram machine. You lie on the table with your boob through this hole and your head “resting” within the saucer. They give you a flat pillow (not as seen in the image, below) which is useless. You end up bunching that under your neck so your neck is forced into a flex. The weight of your neck makes this quite painful. I finally asked if I could have something to rest my forehead on and was given a wadded up towel. That reduced but didn’t erase the crick I got.

Stereotactic table (H-W Photo/Steve Bohnstedt)

So, with your boob through the hole, you are left with your legs sticking out across the end of the table. They have a sort of leg rest (thinner than seen above) that they can pull out but in only extends as far as mid-shin. I am only 5’4″ tall. I can only imagine what someone taller than I would feel like. The table, itself looks exactly as above, with the exception of the pillow and the leg rest.

Once they have your breast compressed (this wasn’t as compressed as is needed for a regular mammogram) they inject a local anaesthetic into it. Since the tissue they were biopsying was fairly deep behind the breast, they had to put in a lot of freezing. Then they insert the biopsy needle using Stereotactic imaging. It takes images from two different angles and provides the location of the tissue to be removed. The doctor can pinpoint the area that is being biopsied and guides the needle around and remove the tissue. I could feel the needle moving about but it was only slightly painful at the end, when he was actually removing the tissue. They then place a Titanium marker into the breast where they removed the tissue so that they know exactly where it was before. The marker looks like a small “R” (About half the size of the one you see here).

Even so, it was only a mild sensation of pain. They showed me all the scans and an image of the tissue removed. The microcalcifications look like grains of salt. Since they removed them all, if they turn out to be benign, there is no chance of them becoming cancerous later on. I suppose that if they are cancerous, there would be some radiation therapy.

They said that I might have no bruising, a little bruising, or bruising that extends from my bellybutton to my chin… They said that I might have some pain as the freezing left. I had a bit if itching pain earlier this afternoon but nothing that two extra-strength Tylenol couldn’t handle (no aspirin because of the blood-thinning effect).

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2 Comments

  1. Lisa said,

    July 22, 2011 at 6:32 am

    I wouldn’t let them put the titanium marker in — caused a bit of a fuss, but I couldn’t stand the idea.

    of course, the entire breast was later removed.

    I hope they were all benign.

  2. sledpress said,

    July 16, 2011 at 6:58 am

    Been here recently (although the scene of the crime was much closer to the surface, so no mammography needed — it was a lipoma, as it turned out, that any idiot could have found with his eyes closed). Never a fun outing, but at least I got to lie in a less awkward position. Try reclining with a tennis ball in the hollow at the back of your head, against any surface that gives you a comfortable pressure (some days I go right to the rug, some days it feels good against a firm pillow). Good for cricks.

    I don’t think the calcifications are themselves capable of developing into cancer, more that they are markers for inflammation which can indicate cancer. But usually just indicates random calcification.

    I have a titanium thingy too. It makes one feel strangely bionic.


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