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Breast Mass: Excisional Biopsy

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Breat Mass: Excisional Biopsy & Wire localization procedures. MY experience.

Posted by
Rachael [18.346] on August 01, 2004 at 00:51:29:

Hi, My name is Rachael & I underwent a needle-wire localization followed by a excisional biopsy, just 2 days ago, to remove a 1.2 cm tumor from my left breast!

I read a lot about this procedure on the internet prior to having it done. My doc explained it, but I was looking for a more personal spin & real life experiences.
I read how painful it was, what a malicious act it was...blah, blah, blah! It seemed I couldn't find anyone who had anything positive to say. What a bummer!

My mass was found in June 2004, after a routine mammogram (I'm 36). Terrified, over the next month I was called back for follow-up mammograms & ultrasounds. After a non-commital report as to the probability of negativity, I decided to have the solid mass removed because of a family cancer history. The fear & stress of wondering if what was in my breast was cancer was much worse than the procedures I underwent!

I was beside myself when I went in for the needle localization because of what I'd read about the pain of having it done. I sure wish I hadn't looked into it so much, because I absolutely suffered through the week prior to my surgery (so did my family as I was a mean & edgy mess)!

The morning of my surgery I went to the radiology dept. of my local hospital. An IV was inserted in my hand (the most painful part of my day in the radiology dept.) & I had a couple of X-rays of my breast done on the mammography machine. They didn't use excessive pressure & everyone was very understanding of my situation & fear.
After the exact location of my mass was determined, a slim needle was placed in my breast. This sounds like it would be painful, but I swear it wasn't! They just pushed it in by hand, no huge hypodermic or anything like I'd imagined. After placing the needle (while my breast was compressed in the mammography machine) another xray was taken to insure good placement. My needle was adjusted a little. I felt a slight tug & that was all! A blue dye was poured into the needle which had a small receptacle in the top. After that a VERY thin wire was threaded into the hollow needle, through my breast & directly into the mass that would be removed. I felt none of this.
Another Xray insured everything was perfect. The needle was slowly & painlessly removed & gauze placed over the wire which remained in my breast. This was taped into place & I was transported to the surgery center for my biopsy.

After seeing how painless the wire localization was, I decided to only get a "local local" for my biopsy ( I'd discussed this possibility with my doctor beforehand as I do not like to take any type of drugs that alter my perception). A "local local" is several numbing shots placed directly into the breast, something like how a dentist numbs you when you have a root canal. Just directly to the surgery site. Being numbed felt like a tiny bee sting. I recieved a couple more shots as surgery went on to deepen the numbness, as I felt I needed it. I recommend this "local local" ONLY if you are able to handle a little pain. This procedure was nothing compared to the pain of getting tattooed, which I have done several times. If you can handle getting a tattoo - you should well be able to handle an excisional biopsy with this type of anethesia!
I was wide awake & had no sedatives. I spoke with the entire surgical team while my surgery was done. I did feel tugging,pushing, pulling,wiping, warm & cold sensations and -unfortunately- a couple minutes of pretty heavy pain. In the end that was well worth it because I was able to leave for home within 15 minutes of coming out of the operating room.
If you are not able to detach mentally, or deal with pain
definitely take them up on the sedative (I felt a "bleeder"- a cut blood vessel- get cauterized because that can not be numbed. It was a medium to sharp burning/pulsing/pulling pain that lasted less than 2 minutes).
I feel general anethesia for this type procedure would be excessive unless you can't tollerate any discomfort at all without really freaking out.
After going home I went out to dinner & had pizza within an hour. I was starved! I kept ice on my breast for 24 hours solid & took 2 Tylenols every 6 hours the first day.
Today I have stopped the ice & Tylenol. I have little swelling or pain. My breast feels bruised & a little itchy.Not truely "painful".
I do recommend wearing a soft sports type bra day & night in the beginning. The light support feels better than going au natural if you are large breasted.

My incision is about 2 inches long & my left breast is slightly "perkier" than my right now. Overall it looks better than I'd expected. It was still something that made me a little sad, but it's sure a lot better than waiting & possibly having to have a mastectomy! Right?
I hope the results of my biopsy go as well as the surgery itself! I will know in about 2 weeks. The surgeon said things looked really good & he was confident the results would come back benign. I have my fingers crossed!
I just wanted to say that the procedure isn't any more painful than getting an IV for the most part...so please don't put off what could be a life saving surgery out of fear!
Best of luck to everyone. Thanks for reading MY story & my personal experience with these procedures!



Re: Breat Mass: Excisional Biopsy & Wire localization procedures. MY experience.

Posted by Sarah [213.430] on August 01, 2004 at 11:45:56:

In Reply to: Breat Mass: Excisional Biopsy & Wire localization procedures. MY experience. posted by Rachael [18.346] on August 01, 2004 at 00:51:29:

I had this a number of years ago and luckily was benign. I agree with you, it was not that bad at all. The horrible part was thinking I might have cancer for two weeks.

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Excisional Biopsy & Wire localization procedures. MY experience. Archive breast

Posted by Walt Stoll [9.8] on August 02, 2004 at 07:08:15:

In Reply to: Breat Mass: Excisional Biopsy & Wire localization procedures. MY experience. posted by Rachael [18.346] on August 01, 2004 at 00:51:29:

Thanks, Rachael (& Sarah).

Walt

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