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Breast Procedures


When an abnormal finding in the breast is discovered during a mammogram, ultrasound, or physical examination, a breast biopsy is ordered. A breast biopsy is a sampling of cells or tissue from a suspicious mass found in the breast. A biopsy is performed in order to determine if a troubled spot is malignant or benign.

Types of biopsies include:

  • Ultrasound-guided core biopsy: With the use of ultrasound, a biopsy needle is inserted into the tissue. Tissue samples can then be taken through the needle.
  • Stereotactic biopsy: Similar to an ultrasound-guided biopsy, the stereotactic biopsy uses image-guidance and computer mapping. A special mammography machine is used to guide the biopsy instruments to the site of abnormal growth in the breast tissue.


A lumpectomy is a surgery to remove cancer or other abnormal tissue from your breast. Unlike a mastectomy, only a portion of the breast is removed. A lumpectomy can help confirm or rule out a diagnosis of cancer. A lumpectomy is also a first treatment option for some women with early-stage breast cancer. In cases where cancer is found, the lumpectomy is usually followed by radiation therapy to the breast to reduce the chances of cancer returning.



A mastectomy is a surgery to remove cancer or other abnormal tissue from your breast in its entirety. Some women have the option to choose between a lumpectomy or a mastectomy. Men with breast cancer are mainly treated with a mastectomy. Some women who are at high risk of breast cancer can prevent it by having a mastectomy.

If further treatment is needed after your mastectomy, the doctor may recommend the following:

  • A radiation oncologist to discuss radiation treatments
  • A medical oncologist to discuss chemotherapy or hormone therapy
  • A plastic surgeon, if you’re considering breast reconstruction


Duct excisions

Women who have abnormal nipple discharge may need a duct excision, which is the removal of the milk ducts. Abnormal discharge could include spontaneous drainage or blood-tinged drainage. The abnormal duct and a small amount of surrounding tissue are removed. This is done while the patient is asleep under anesthesia. The tissue is sent to the pathology laboratory for further analysis and identification.

Sentinel lymph node biopsy

A sentinel lymph node biopsy is a surgery to take out one or two lymph nodes to test for the spread of cancer. The sentinel lymph node is the first node in a group of lymph nodes.

A sentinel lymph node biopsy involves injecting a tracer material that helps the surgeon locate the nodes during surgery. The sentinel lymph nodes are removed and analyzed by a pathologist. If the sentinel lymph node biopsy reveals cancer, additional lymph node surgery may be needed.


Axillary lymph node dissections

If a cancer diagnosis is confirmed during your sentinel lymph node biopsy, the procedure may be converted to an axillary lymph node dissection. This consists of removing all of the lymph nodes under the arm.


SAVI placement for partial breast irradiation

The SAVI is an FDA approved partial breast radiation device that can be custom-fitted to your lumpectomy cavity. The SAVI is inserted through a small incision, and the catheter bundle expands uniformly, but its unique design allows it to be opened in a way that truly conforms to the size and shape of your tumor cavity. The radiation dose can be individually controlled through each catheter, allowing precise targeting by the radiation oncologist.

Only a small incision is needed to allow the compact catheter bundle to be placed within your breast. The incision area will be secured with a dressing, and part of each catheter line will extend outside your breast, until your treatment is complete in 7-10 days.

To learn more about this innovative device, click here.

Why Hillcrest General Surgery?

As a part of Hillcrest Baptist Medical Center, Scott & White Healthcare, Hillcrest General Surgery in Waco, Texas strives to provide excellence in patient care through providing comprehensive general surgery services in the Central Texas Area.