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Aberdeen Royal Infirmary first in country to use breast biopsy machine

By Chris Saunderson

A NEW breast biopsy machine, the first of its kind in Scotland, is providing a boost to patients in the north-east.


NHS Grampian’s new equipment allows medics to see specimens during a procedure and can reduce the number of biopsies which are required to be taken as a result.

On average around 10 minutes per procedure are saved resulting in less pain, bruising and discomfort for patients and creating extra capacity for patient appointments and other clinical work.

Patient Sally Holland had her biopsy after a routine check-up as part of a screening programme showed the need for further investigation.

She said: “The procedure was fairly quick, easy and was painless. It took less than 20 minutes.

“The staff are excellent, keep your mind off things and it was relatively straightforward. It really is a minimal amount of time for something that can save your life ultimately.

The procedure was a lot better than I expected and lot quicker and more comfortable.”

North-east Breast screening programme Advanced Practitioner, Michelle Cumming said: “The machine is brilliant to use, the unique selling point of the machine is the ability to image your specimen in real time during the biopsy, this can reduce procedure time if the target lesion can be identified in the early samples.

“I can also focus my sampling knowing where there is the greatest yield and make an assessment during the procedure when to stop.

Clinical director, Dr Gerald Lip added: “In the past, 12 cores were taken as standard, now with the Brevera we can cut the sampling down and is really useful when there are multiple areas requiring sampling, less time for the lady under compression gives an overall more positive biopsy experience for the patient and the team.”

The machine, which cost more than £65,000 and came into use earlier this year, also cuts down consumables in the department reducing both cost and waste.

Michelle added: “Another great advantage is the specimen is fed into sections through a tube in a revolving filter with no specimen handling.

“This again streamlines post biopsy processing and has cut procedure times; this enhancement in service provision has been such a positive experience in our department.”

Dr Lip added: “This machine is of great benefit both to those of us on the medical side but also patients.

“It streamlines the whole process and means, in most cases, patients are in and out more quickly and are able to get on with the rest of their day.

“From a medical side it means we can see more patients as it cuts the average procedure time by around 25 per cent. Traditionally there are eight steps to a breast biopsy and the Brevera machine cuts this to three.”

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