Is one kind of biopsy better?

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Question from alliecat: I'm scheduled to have a biopsy done next week. I don't know what kind of biopsy they will be doing. Is one biopsy method (needle, core needle, or Mammotome® biopsy) better than the other?
Answers - Beth Baughman DuPree, M.D., F.A.C.S. First of all, you need to ask the physician what specific type of biopsy you're scheduled for. He or she will decide on what type of biopsy to perform depending on whether the abnormality they want to examine was seen on the mammogram, on the ultrasound, or found on the clinical exam. My personal preference is a Mammotome® biopsy, which is a procedure that uses a core needle device with one single insertion into the breast that takes multiple cores of tissue. Then, it's able to leave a tiny marker in the breast to highlight that area for future reference.
Ann Ainsworth A needle biopsy gives us a small amount of tissue to work with, a core needle biopsy gives us a little more, and a Mammotome® biopsy provides even more tissue. The more tissue you have, the easier it is to make the diagnosis because you have a lot of tissue to examine.
Marisa Weiss, M.D. With the extra tissue, you can more easily get results on hormone receptors and HER2 status. These two pieces of information can help guide treatment, particularly if chemotherapy is recommended before surgery, hormonal therapy, and/or immune therapy.

The Ask-the-Expert Online Conference called Your Operative and Pathology Reports featured Beth Baughman Dupree, M.D., F.A.C.S. and Ann Ainsworth, M.D. answering your questions about details of pathology and operative reports and the importance of discussing them with your doctors.

Editor's Note: This conference took place in November 2004.

The materials presented in these conferences do not necessarily reflect the views of A qualified healthcare professional should be consulted before using any therapeutic product or regimen discussed. All readers should verify all information and data before employing any therapies described here.

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Copyright 2010. All rights reserved.

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