Hello. I'm a healthy, 51-year-old, with a recent diagnosis of 2 solid masses in my left breast. The Radiologist who did the diagnostic ultrasound recommended I see a breast surgeon ASAP and stated that, due to the size (very small) and location (deep behind the nipple, and at the outer left edge beneath an enlarged lymph node) they would likely do an excisional biopsy. I am scheduled to see the breast surgeon on April 29th. However, I am scheduled to be out of the country for a month beginning 14 May. I am concerned about the recovery time from this type of surgical biopsy. Can anyone help me get a better understanding of 1) the extent of the incision(s); 2) the typical recovery time for excisional biopsy; and 3) the post-operative restrictions to movement, exercise and/or painfulness? I asked about fine-needle or core-biopsy but the Radiologist felt those weren't likely because they would "obliterate" the lesions making it harder to ensure clean margins if they were malignant. He also felt that even though these are "probably benign" I should definitely not wait a month or two to have them biopsied.
Any information from those experienced with this type of biopsy will be greatly appreciated.
You would need to talk to your breast surgeon about the queries you have posted here.
Even he /she would only be able to help you with some doubts - some of the things are in fact decided on the Operation and also the post operative events could be highly unpredictable.
Could you post us the exact mammogram and ultrasound reports here?
Your surgeon would most probably only examine you on the first consultation and see if any further tests are required and only then plan the further treatment and also schedule an excision biopsy if he/she thinks it is required for a later date.
Let us know about how your appointment goes and if you have any other doubts.
Hello. Thank you for taking the time to reply to my inquiry.
I wish I could post exact mammogram and ultrasound reports for you. Unfortunately the Radiologist gave me a single, form-letter report that explains the tests performed were:
Diagnostic Mammogram (L) and
Diagnostic Ultrasound (L)
it then has several categories for results with the box labeled "Abnormal" checked and next to it is written in BIRADS 4.
The Follow-up section has the box checked "Follow-up Required" "Referral to Breast Surgeon" and then the doctor's name and number are hand-written in the space.
That's all they provided but did say they would send a full report to my Internist.
I have called the Surgeon, they already had my films/test results (they are all in the same area at the Ourisman Breast Center at Georgetown University) and I have an appointment to see her on 4/29.
I also have a call into my Internist to see if I can get a bit more information from him, minimally I'd like a summary of what the Radiologist reported.
Must admit to being shocked to hear that I had 2 solid masses in my breast since I have no family history of breast cancer and all my previous mammograms had been normal. I was there for routine screening and because I had noticed a thickened, bumpy lump on the left breast which turned out to be an enlarged lymph node (according to the Radiologist) that wasn't close to either of the masses. In fact he said I wouldn't be able to feel either of the masses he found. Maybe he is being cautious with the referral because I do have some risk factors (history of smoking, early menses, and complete abdominal hysterectomy at age 22 with long-term HRT)
I am curious why the Radiologist would jump to the conclusion that a surgical biopsy would be required if it wasn't likely? He seemed very thorough while doing the ultrasound, showed me the places on both the mammogram and ultrasound, and explained that they were definitely "solid" not cysts. He had compared the mammograms with my previous films and stated that both masses were new and weren't visible on the last mammogram in 9/2006.
Oh well, guess it's a wait and see proposition and I am definitely NOT good with this type of wait & see...
Thanks again for any insights or information you can provide.
So, I guess the thing to do if wait to hear what my Internist and the Breast Surgeon think and not take the Radiologists statement about excisional biopsy too seriously?
BIRAD 4 catagories always require some type of biopsy to arrive at a correct diagnosis. The recovery time from an excisional biopsy wouldn't be all that long however all surgeons have their own post-op care routine. I had an excisional biopsy and saw the surgeon one week later. At that time you will be advised o the Pathology report and any further treatment that might be necessary. I had no restrictions as far as exercise, etc. after the biopsy.It is a rather simple surgery regarding post-op restrictions. Discuss your travel plans with the surgeon.
Hello, again. Just wanted to thank everyone for the information and support. I have an MRI scheduled tomorrow and will now see the breast surgeon on 4/25. Needless to say I'm anxious, but after a brief conversation with the doctor am feeling hopeful that these are benign masses that can most likely wait until I return in June to be biopsied.
I genuinely appreciate having a resource like this available. It is a real comfort to know a supportive community is out there!
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