Dr Tan Yah Yuen
Until the 1980s, traditional open surgical techniques were the only option if surgery was required to treat a patient. Since the emergence of MIS, this has changed. Open surgery tends to require a large incision, lengthy operating times, general anaesthetic, extended recovery periods, and has a greater risk of complications. Visible scarring is also expected after open surgery. MIS offers an attractive alternative. Depending on the procedure, it is usually faster, requires only a small incision or incisions, and can often be done with local anaesthetic. This reduces the risk of complications and shortens the recovery time considerably. It is, therefore, unsurprising that MIS techniques are fast becoming preferable to a more traditional approach.
MIS techniques are typically used in the diagnosis of breast cancer. If you find a lump in your breast, and scans and physical examinations are inconclusive, your doctor may need a sample of the affected tissue to run further tests.
This extraction of tissue can be achieved via an ultrasound-guided core needle biopsy for diagnosis, or MIS ultrasound guided vacuum-assisted excision biopsy (removal) of the lump, which is both diagnostic and therapeutic. For suspicious calcifications that are detected on your mammogram, your doctor may recommend stereotactic-guided vacuum-assisted biopsy, which retrieves a good amount of calcification for testing and may also remove all suspicious calcification in the process.
If the biopsy reveals cancer, you will need traditional surgery to remove the mass in its entirety.
MIS techniques include:
This diagnostic procedure results in a better cosmetic result with minimal scarring, hence leading to a more desirable outcome for the patient. In addition, recovery time is often faster.
Cancer develops in stages and early detection plays a vital role in treatment options and survivability. Survival rates are much higher in the early stages, and treatment is less aggressive. If you check your breasts regularly, you will be able to notice any changes and speak to your doctor immediately. A small lump can easily be tested and removed using MIS techniques. Hence, it is important to do self-screening on a regular basis.
If you find a lump or notice changes in your breasts, refrain from panicking as most lumps are benign. Book an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible in order to get a proper diagnosis. If the cancer is detected in earlier stages, surgical treatment will be less invasive.
Mount Elizabeth Hospitals offer a one-stop solution for all your breast screening, assessment and diagnostic needs at the Mount Elizabeth Breast Care Centre.
Our dedicated team of surgeons, radiologists, nurses and allied health professionals work closely to provide comprehensive and personalised care to support you through your breast health journey.