Wednesday, July 13, 2011
Stereotactic Core Needle Biopsy
No, Karma didn't have a SCN biopsy ~ although I suspect her expression looks somewhat like mine did when I was informed that I needed one! I had a Stereotactic Core Needle Biopsy done on my left breast yesterday.
Prior to my procedure, I did quite a bit of online research and was not concerned about discomfort during the biopsy. All of the literature I read said that it is relatively pain free ~ other than the "pain in the neck" from laying in the same position for so long. The neck pain was real! I was concentrating SO hard on not moving and trying to relax my neck and shoulder muscles because my neck was cramping up on me horribly. I almost asked for a shot of lidocane into the back of my neck!
I'm getting ahead of myself here. I want to make this a somewhat educational post so I'll start at the beginning...
When I arrived at the hospital, accompanied by my "Princess" (oldest daughter, Pam) we were escorted to a cozy waiting room and I was given the key to a locker and taken to the changing room where I was instructed to undress from the waist up and snuggle into a soft, comfy robe. In just a few minutes, a smiling nurse came to take me to the procedure room. There, we sat down and the nurse explained what would happen during the biopsy. She was warm and reassuring and open to questions. As I said, I had done some Internet research on SCNB and even watched a Utube video on it, so I felt calm and prepared.
When the nurse had finished explaining everything, including what options we faced if the biopsy results are positive, the doctor came in and went over every thing again. At that point, I signed a consent form.
Let me tell you: there is no graceful way for a half-naked woman to climb onto the table used for a SCNB. You really don't even want to try to picture it! Let's just say that the nurse suggested that I 'mount it like a horse'. Once I'd found a reasonably comfortable position (lying on my stomach with my left arm at my side and my right arm above my head), the doctor and technicians began.
The doctor administered 'lidocane' (a numbing agent) prior to inserting the large biopsy needle. Just as when getting a local before having dental work done, this feels similar to a mosquito bite. Doctor Ellis advised me that if I felt any more pain that the sting of the local anesthesia I should let him know. With the guidance of the mammograms being taken as the procedure was done, Dr. Ellis injected lidocane in first one site, and then another. Except that when he injected it into the second site, I felt the mosquito bite and then a bee sting! I informed him of the more intense stinging sensation and he said that there must be a nerve in that spot and withdrew the needle.
If my left breast had not been held between the panels of the built in mammogram machine, I think I would have hit the ceiling. And then ran out of there as fast as my legs could carry me!
As it was, the doctor immediately withdrew the needle ~ without having collected a sample. He was SO apologetic ~ explaining that I apparently had a very powerful nerve running through that area of my breast and he must have 'hit' it. I was still in intense pain and the nurses were trying to calm me and help me up off of the table. Everyone felt terrible. What had been a very simple, almost painless procedure had turned into a nightmare. The doctor assured me that he had never had this happen before. I felt like I must just be a big baby but the nurse assured me that there was clearly a nerve involved and that the doctor had simply never hit a nerve before. She said that anyone else in the same situation would have reacted just as strongly ~ if not more so.
The bad news is we only got samples from one location. I'm not sure if that will be enough to assure us that the other two areas are safe if this biopsy comes back negative. I know I will NOT have another Stereotactic Core Needle Biopsy performed! Dr. Ellis said that if we have any doubts, I will probably have to have a surgical biopsy done.
Today, I am still sore but not as bad as I was last night. I'm using ice packs (fortunately I have plenty of them left over from my arm!) and taking ibuprofen. That keeps me reasonably comfortable. By tomorrow I should be pretty much back to normal. What ever that is!
The doctor will call me tomorrow with the biopsy results...
I did some more research online last night. Looking for information on "pain during a SCNB". Most of the sites I visited said that it is very unusual ~ less than 2% of the women surveyed who have had the procedure have complained about significant pain. So if you ~ or someone you know ~ ever needs to have a breast biopsy done, please don't let my experience make you aprehensive. For the VAST majority of women, it is a relatively pain free procedure with the main complaint being neck pain!
I guess I'm just lucky...