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New Technology at Women’s Diagnostic Center in Munster Streamlines Breast Biopsy, Making Procedure Quicker, More Comfortable for Patients


Community Hospital Women’s Diagnostic Center is transforming the breast biopsy experience. The women’s center is first in Northwest Indiana to use some of the most advanced technology available for cancer diagnostics. The Brevera biopsy system combines tissue acquisition, real-time imaging, sample verification and advanced post-procedure handling in one complete platform.

The all-in-one technology enables the radiologist to retrieve tissue samples while simultaneously taking images in real-time and preparing the specimen for the laboratory. This makes for a quicker procedure than other methods of biopsy.

“The Brevera biopsy system takes an x-ray every time a tissue piece is acquired to provide faster, more accurate biopsies,” explains Suzanne Ruiz, RN, NP-C, breast health navigator and supervisor, Women’s Diagnostic Center, Munster. “This helps to improve the timing and make the overall procedure more comfortable for the patient.”

Until now, radiologists performing stereotactic breast biopsy procedures were often required to leave the patient under compression while they moved to another room to image and verify tissue samples. This can lead to lengthy procedure times and anxious, uncomfortable patients.

That, Ruiz said, can be unnerving. Because even though the majority of findings that require breast biopsy are benign, it still weighs heavily on patients’ minds.

“If you’re wondering or not sure, your mind always focuses on the bad, not the good,” Ruiz said.

With the Brevera system, radiologists are able to obtain and image tissue samples in the procedure room in just a few seconds, potentially saving up to 10 minutes per patient and decreasing the procedure time by up to 25 percent.

Community Hospital’s Women’s Diagnostic Center also is using the Affirm biopsy system to accommodate a greater number of women. The biopsy system is used in conjunction with 3D mammography. The Affirm system allows the technologist to transition from diagnostic to interventional modes in just minutes.

“The advantage of the Affirm biopsy system is that there is no weight limit and the patient needs only to be able to sit upright in a chair to have the biopsy performed, instead of lying down on her stomach,” explains Ruiz. “This enables us to accommodate many more patients.”

“Regardless of how we do a biopsy at the Women’s Diagnostic Center, we get the majority of the results the next day,” said Mary Nicholson, MD, director of breast imaging services for Community Healthcare System who performs breast MRI, ultrasound and stereotactic core biopsies at the Community Hospital Women’s Diagnostic Center. “The sooner we get the results, the sooner our patients get to treatment.”

“Pinpointing breast cancer swiftly and sooner is part of our commitment to early detection and accurate diagnosis,” Nicholson said. “Everything we do is designed to decrease waiting and decrease anxiety.”

The Women’s Diagnostic Center is located just south of Community Hospital on Calumet Avenue in Munster. Call 219-836-4599 to schedule an annual screening mammogram appointment. A doctor’s order is necessary for the exam.

Community Healthcare System
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