For Immediate Release
Stereotactic Breast Biopsy Means Greater Comfort And Precision For Patients At Cristie Kerr Women's Health Center
Women requiring biopsies to determine suspicious findings from their mammograms are now reaping the benefits of state-of-the-art technology that is being used at the Cristie Kerr Women’s Health Center on the campus of Jersey City Medical Center.
Doctors say the new stereotactic breast biopsy equipment promises women greater comfort and precision during their biopsies. It is the first technology of its kind available at a comprehensive breast center in Hudson County.
“This computer-guided technology allows us to get a better and smaller sampling of tissue with greater precision, shortens the time of the procedure, and provides the patient with little if any discomfort,” said Dr. Edward Poon, Chairman of Radiology at the Jersey City Medical Center. “We do it in an examination room, whereas before most biopsies could only be done in the operating room. Also, the incision is much smaller so there is little if any scarring and decreased pain. The procedure is completed within 45 - 60 minutes.”
During the procedure, the patient lies face down on a specially designed, ergonomic table, with the breast exposed through the openings in the table. The digital machine takes orthogonal, low dose, focused mammographic images of the suspicious area in the breast, which are viewed by the doctor on a computer screen. The equipment then pinpoints the exact location of the breast abnormality seen on earlier mammography by using a computer and x-rays taken from different angles.
“Using these computer coordinates, the radiologist determines the site for the biopsy and administers to the breast a local anesthetic – similar to what she would receive in the dentist’s office,” said Dr. Zarine Patel, head of mammography. “The tissue samples are then obtained with a vacuum-assisted device and the tissue samples are sent to pathology to be examined.”
Stereotactic biopsy is one of three modalities now used by the center to biopsy breast tissue. Since, as Dr. Poon said, “cancer likes to hide,” biopsies can also be performed by sonogram and MRI, depending on which modality visualizes the suspicious mass the best.
The Cristie Kerr Women’s Health, named after one of the world’s top professional women’s golfers, opened in June 2010. The comprehensive center offers detection, healing, support, and recovery services. The new technology was paid for with monies raised by Kerr’s non-profit organization Birdies for Breast Cancer and The Liberty Health Foundation.
“The new technology is another example of our goal to make the Cristie Kerr Women’s Health Center the leading breast cancer facility in the area,” said Dr. Julie DiGioia, its medical director. “It’s part of the center’s mission to provide our patients with excellent medical care and treat them with the utmost in dignity and compassion.”
As part of this effort, the center recently created a tumor board comprised of a group of leading physicians with diverse specialties in oncology, radiology, surgery, pathology, radiation oncology, and reconstructive surgery who now meet weekly to discuss complex cases and the most appropriate care. In addition, the Radiology department recently received a three-year term of accreditation from the American College of Radiology (ACR).