HRMC takes breast biopsy to next level

COURTESY PHOTO Dr. Anthony Loewen (second from right) poses for a photo with the stereotactic biopsy platform and mammography technologists Ann Van Winkle, Lanah Reimer and Kori Tschetter.

Women who need further diagnosis of a breast abnormality now have a less invasive form of biopsy available close to home at Huron Regional Medical Center.

Last fall, HRMC began offering 3D mammograms, which take pictures of the breasts from many angles. Software combines these pictures to form more detailed images than 2D mammograms, allowing radiologists to find more suspicious abnormalities earlier.

A biopsy is a sample of a breast mass identified with a screening mammogram. This procedure can reveal whether the breast mass is cancerous. Previously, a biopsy of microcalcifications — which are tiny calcium deposits only visible with X-rays through mammography — required patients to undergo a surgical procedure with sedation. Now, an attachment to HRMC’s 3D mammography unit allows the hospital to offer a less invasive option called stereotactic breast biopsy. This procedure only requires a small incision and numbing of the breast, and it can happen less than a week after a screening mammogram.

“We use mammograms to map the breast, locate the area of concern and insert a needle to take a sample,” says Anthony Loewen, MD, general surgeon at New Life Clinic in Huron and vice chief of staff and department chair of surgery at HRMC. “The procedure usually takes 15 to 20 minutes, and patients can drive themselves home.”

“The pathology results are typically available in three to five business days, and we work with oncology to determine the best course of treatment if the mass is found to be cancerous,” said Dr. Loewen. “If surgery is needed, it can be scheduled at HRMC as an outpatient or inpatient procedure, in addition to chemotherapy if that is part of the treatment plan.”

For more information about stereotactic biopsy or to schedule a 3D mammogram, call 605-353-6334 or visit