West Penn Allegheny Health System Begins Minimally Invasive Vacuum-Assisted Breast Biopsy

PITTSBURGH – West Penn Allegheny Health System is now offering patients with suspicious breast lesions vacuum-assisted breast biopsy, a less-invasive technique that allows surgeons to retrieve larger amounts of tissue for diagnosis without the cost and discomfort of an open surgical biopsy.
The commercial launch of the Mammotome® elite Biopsy System was announced today by Devicor® Medical Products, Inc. of Cincinnati. Unlike competing devices that rely on automated syringes, Mammotome® elite Biopsy System’s vacuum motor enables the device to capture large, high quality tissue samples. 
The Mammotome® elite Biopsy System will be used to aid in the detection and treatment of breast cancer in ultrasound-guided breast and axillary lymph node biopsies. In March, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration cleared the device for use on patients.
The vacuum-assisted technique uses a special instrument and imaging guidance to remove samples of breast tissue through a single small skin incision. The surgeon can remove more tissue than with a traditional core biopsy, but the procedure is much less invasive than an open surgical biopsy.
“We are very pleased to offer this new technology to our patients, as it makes the early detection of abnormalities easier than ever before,” said William Poller, MD, Director of Breast Imaging for West Penn Allegheny Health System. “This is extremely important, as early diagnosis increases a woman’s chances of survival.”
More than 200,000 new cases of breast cancer are diagnosed each year, and 40,000 women die of the disease each year. About 1.5 million breast biopsies are performed annually, making them among the most commonly performed diagnostic medical procedures.
VAB procedures are growing in popularity with clinicians because they are less invasive than surgery. 
The Mammotome® elite system includes a reusable holster, a charging base and a single-patient-use disposable 13-gauge probe with a non-firing bladed insertion tip. This tip is designed to move easily through tissue while allowing physicians to maintain control of the needle even in problematic dense breast tissue. The new lightweight ergonomic design of elite provides superior control for precise needle placement and easy insertion.
“What makes the Mammotome® elite device unique is its ability to provide the tissue quality of a full VAB device, with the convenience of a disposable core needle,” Dr. Poller said. “The simplicity of elite’s design allows me to maintain my focus on the biopsy site and the single insertion device reduces procedure time, easing patient anxiety. This is a game-changing diagnostic tool.”
“In the last several years, Devicor has invested heavily in developing innovative new tools that help doctors more effectively diagnose and treat breast cancer, said Tom Daulton, CEO of Devicor. “Mammotome® elite is the first of many exciting product innovations we will be bringing to patients and clinicians around the world.”

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