April 2, 2013

Mercy Medical Center now offers MRI-guided breast biopsy

Mercy Medical Center is now performing MRI-guided breast biopsies, which means Mercy can offer eligible patients in the Canton, Ohio, area the minimally invasive procedure closer to where they live.

Used in high-risk cases where mammography is not sensitive enough to detect abnormalities, MRI-guided breast biopsy—which takes less than an hour—minimizes the need for a larger surgery, a bigger incision and more tissue removal. Recovery time is brief, sutures are not required and patients can return to normal activities almost immediately.

Mercy surgeon Gregory M. Boone, M.D., says the breast MRI, while not a routine screening tool, is appropriate in certain clinical situations, such as for patients with a family or personal history of breast cancer who also have dense breast tissue.

Image-guided biopsies to remove suspicious-looking cells and small lesions can be done with mammograms, ultrasounds and MRIs. However, the MRI frequently provides better differentiation between abnormal (diseased) tissue and normal tissue.
“With our first case, the MRI revealed an abnormality that, on biopsy, proved to be ductal carcinoma in situ, which is a very early, highly curable form of breast cancer,” said Dr. Boone. “Without the MRI, we would not have discovered the lesion. Her MRI did not correlate with her mammogram, as some things are only seen on an MRI. Thanks to this technology, now available in the Canton area, her cancer was caught at the earliest possible stage.”

Mercy radiologist Thomas Vesy, M.D., has been reading breast MRIs for about 10 years. However, prior to the new biopsy, Mercy physicians had to perform a conventional localization operation or send patients outside the area because it was believed to be unavailable locally.

“This procedure is part of the evolution of breast care and minimally invasive technology,” said Dr. Vesy. “By combining the accuracy of the MRI with a needle biopsy, we can now precisely target suspicious masses, as well as areas of distortion and abnormal tissue change.”

At the close of the biopsy, the radiologist may insert a small marker at the site where tissue was removed so that it can be located in the future, if necessary. During follow-up, after a pathologist analyzes the samples, the patient learns if the tissue is cancerous or not.

Dr. Vesy believes continuity of care is an important part of offering the MRI-guided breast biopsy in the Stark County area.

“Now our patients can stay close to home and continue to see physicians they already know. Plus, they can be confident in the fact that Mercy has a dedicated, experienced team of radiologists, technologists and nurses in place to do this procedure,” says Dr. Vesy.

Mercy Medical Center is a ministry of the Sisters of Charity Health System.

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