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Breast care services

Your peace of mind is important

From routine breast screening and advanced imaging to comprehensive resources for treatment and recovery, Mercyhealth is here to meet your breast health needs.

All Mercyhealth locations offer the highest level of skilled breast health professionals, along with the most advanced imaging equipment and techniques.

We offer a comprehensive array of breast imaging procedures

3-D digital mammograms, screening and diagnostic

A mammogram uses a low-dose x-ray to take a digital image of the breast while it is compressed.

3-D mammography is advanced technology that creates multiple thin images of the breast. These thin slices allow our radiologists to view the breast tissue more clearly and identify abnormalities more accurately.

3-D mammography is especially recommended for women with dense breast tissue, which can obscure suspicious abnormalities. However, the enhanced precision of 3-D mammography is beneficial to all patients, regardless of density.

3-D mammography finds more invasive cancers and reduces unnecessary callbacks. It also:

  • Detects 41% more invasive cancers than traditional mammography
  • Reduces false positives by up to 40%
  • Decreases the number of patients called back for additional imaging by 15%

Breast ultrasound

Breast ultrasound is done to thoroughly examine all parts of the breast, especially places closes to the chest wall, that are hard to reach with traditional mammography. Ultrasound does not use radiation like x-rays do.

Breast ultrasound may be performed to determine if:

  • There is a medical cause for some breast symptoms.
  • A patient is younger and has denser breast tissue.
  • An abnormal breast growth found during an exam is a solid mass or a cyst in the breast (a fluid-filled sac).
  • A lump in the breast is a fibroadenoma or lipoma. A fibroadenoma is a noncancerous solid growth; lipomas are noncancerous fatty lumps that can occur anywhere in the body.

Physicians use breast ultrasounds to:

  • Locate an optimal place to inject a needle for biopsy of a mass or cyst
  • Check the status and health of breast implants
  • Watch lumps or cysts for growth

Imaging-guided breast biopsy procedures

  • Stereotactic biopsy
  • Ultrasound biopsy
  • MRI biopsy

Imaging studies, such as mammograms and breast ultrasounds, can lead doctors to suspect that a person has breast cancer. A breast biopsy is the only way to know for sure. A biopsy involves a sample of tissue from the suspicious area and examining it under a microscope by a pathologist.

Different techniques can be used to perform a biopsy, the least invasive procedure possible and provides the best visualization of the area is used to determine the most appropriate technique.

Breast biopsy procedures

It’s important to know that with any of these methods, about 80% of abnormal growths turn out to be noncancerous.

Stereotactic breast biopsy

When a mammogram shows a breast abnormality, this special mammography machine uses ionizing radiation to guide the radiologist’s instruments to the site of the abnormal growth. Stereotactic breast biopsy is also an excellent way to evaluate calcium deposits or tiny masses that are not visible on ultrasound.

Ultrasound-guided biopsy

An ultrasound-guided breast biopsy can be performed when a breast ultrasound shows an abnormality. It can evaluate lumps under the arm or near the chest wall, which are hard to reach with stereotactic biopsy. There are times when your doctor may decide that ultrasound guidance for biopsy is appropriate even for a mass that can be felt.

MRI-guided biopsy

This type of biopsy is most helpful when MR (magnetic resonance) imaging shows a breast abnormality. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) helps guide the radiologist’s instruments to the site of the abnormal growth.

Breast MRI

A magnetic resonance imaging, or breast MRI, scan creates detailed 3-D pictures of the breast and surrounding tissues that may not be seen as clearly on ultrasound or mammogram. Some patients may need to have dye injected into their arm to make breast structures show more clearly.

Breast MRI uses magnets to form the images your physician will see, not radiation, so there’s no possibility of radiation exposure.

It may be done along with mammography or ultrasound, but it is not a replacement for mammography.

Breast MRI may be performed to:

  • Screen for cancer in women at high risk for breast cancer (such as those with a strong family history) and women with dense breast tissue
  • Evaluate an abnormal result on a mammogram or breast ultrasound
  • Look more closely at a specific place on the breast
  • Check for more cancer in the same breast or the other breast after cancer has been diagnosed
  • Monitor breasts after cancer has been treated
  • Find cancer that remains after surgery or chemotherapy
  • Distinguish between scar tissue and breast tumors
  • Evaluate a lump in the breast (usually after biopsy)
  • Look for possible rupture of breast implants

Breast MRI is available only at the Mercyhealth Breast Center, Janesville.