Diagnostic and imaging services include:
A mammogram is a low dose x-ray of your breasts. It is carried out by gently compressing the breast between two plates. Each breast is x-rayed twice from different perspectives giving four x-rays altogether. Occasionally extra views may also be required.
An ultrasound scan builds up a picture of your internal organs using sound waves of a frequency above the audible range of the human ear. During the ultrasound, gel is applied to the breast and a handheld probe is moved over the skin to examine the underlying breast tissue.
An MRI scanner produces high-quality, cross sectional images of internal body structures without radiation. It's a highly specialist investigation which is usually only used when the standard imaging modalities leave a degree of doubt about the full clinical picture.
Core needle biopsy
A core needle biopsy is used to obtain a piece of breast tissue about half the size of a matchstick. Often two or three samples are taken and the tissue obtained is enough to make a definitive analysis of any lump.
Vacuum assisted biopsy
Vacuum assisted biopsies are performed for two reasons:
1) if your Consultant is in any doubt about an accurate diagnosis after a standard core biopsy or fine needle aspiration test
2) to excise benign areas from the breast under local anaesthetic, as an alternative to surgery.
It's a 20 minute procedure performed under ultrasound or mammographic guidance.
Fine needle aspiration
Using a fine needle and a syringe, individual cells or small clusters of cells are collected from the breast tissue. The procedure is not painful and is similar to the discomfort of having a blood test.
Specialist breast care nurse
A specialist nurse is always available during the clinics at the Lister Hospital, to help you with any part of your visit, or to answer any of your queries. She can also advise you or provide you with written information relating to any aspect of your breast problem.