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SLV Health Adds Stereotactic Biopsy

Photo by Ethan Caton.  L to R: Alisa Johnson, MD, Radiologist, SLV Health, Radiology & Imaging Consultants; Janet McGinnis, Director of Imaging, SLV Health; Barbara Carlsen, Mammographer, SLV Health

San Luis Valley Health is very excited to be able to now offer stereotactic biopsy treatment to their patients. The new technology arrived at the hospital in early November and it is already producing great results.

“It’s been wonderful. We currently are booked six weeks out. Patients were having to go to Pueblo or to Colorado Springs for these treatments. There definitely is a need in our community and we are thrilled to be able to offer this to our patients,” said Janet McGinnis who is SLV Health’s Imaging Director.

With the use of groundbreaking Hologic 3D imaging technology, their new state of the art stereotactic biopsy machine offers the best advantages in breast biopsies. The new machine allows radiologists to easily target areas of concern, including those visible only in tomosynthesis images (an advance type of mammography). It also simplifies procedural steps and speeds targeting, producing shorter patient procedure time. The new machine also reduces the patient dose as fewer exposures are required.

“The important thing with our new stereotactic breast machine that’s different from our regular mammogram machines which is used for needle localization and our ultrasound machine which is used to perform breast biopsies is for those areas that you can’t feel. There’s no other way to biopsy them except the stereotactic breast biopsy machine,” explained Janet.

In these difficult to reach spots, the new stereotactic biopsy machine allows the radiologist to take a picture that they can then use to localize the area with coordinates in the machine. These coordinates allow them to pinpoint the exact location.

“We’re very happy this new service is here. It’s efficient, it’s easy, it’s fast, and we have highly educated and trained radiologists that perform these,” said Janet.

It is recommended that patients over the age of 50 come in once a year for a screening mammogram exam. If they are at high risk it is recommended that they start coming in once a year after reaching the age of 40 years old. In the past 18 months, over 90 patients have been referred out of the Valley for this treatment. San Luis Valley Health is very happy to now be able to offer this care close to home.