Biopsy system is effective in completely removing benign breast masses

May 05, 2004

Benign breast masses can be safely and effectively removed without surgery--using a vacuum assisted breast biopsy system, preliminary results of a study show.

The study found that breast masses as large as 3 cm could be completely removed with just a small incision. The study included 24 patients, with 27 lesions, said Priscilla Slanetz, MD, director of breast imaging at Caritas St. Elizabeth's Medical Center in Boston, MA, a teaching affiliate Tufts University School of Medicine.

The patients were of various ages, and they had various reasons for wanting the benign masses removed, said Dr. Slanetz. Some had a strong family history of breast cancer and they were uncomfortable with any mass in their breast. Others wanted the mass removed because a known benign mass was enlarging. Some women opted for the procedure over surgery as they were poor surgical candidates due to other health problems, said Dr. Slanetz.

None of the patients had discomfort or pain and only one patient had a moderate amount of bleeding during the procedure. Following the procedure, only three patients had a moderate amount of pain relieved by Tylenol and three patients had a moderate amount of bruising, said Dr. Slanetz. All of the women have indicated that they would choose to have the procedure again," Dr. Slanetz said.

The procedure takes about 20-40 minutes, depending on the size of the mass, said Dr. Slanetz. That compares to a 30-60 minute surgical procedure, that includes anesthesia and a 1"-2" incision followed by stitches in the breast.

"We are still awaiting follow-up of the patients to see if there is any recurrence of their benign masses, but the preliminary results of this study are very positive," she said.

Dr. Slanetz will present her study on May 5 at the American Roentgen Ray Society Annual Meeting in Miami Beach, FL.
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