Palmetto Health Tuomey first hospital in state with breast biopsy technology

Posted on 3/29/2017

Machine is another tool to ease anxiety for women who have a breast abnormality

Palmetto Health Tuomey is the first hospital in the state to install the latest technology for breast biopsy: the Hologic Affirm Prone Biopsy System. The system allows the Tuomey Breast Center to perform a minimally invasive 3-D-guided procedure to gather tissue samples from a breast abnormality. This can be used as an alternative to more invasive surgeries. Duke University School of Medicine in North Carolina is the only other facility in the Carolinas with the new 3-D biopsy technology.

How does 3-D biopsy work? If a radiologist finds an abnormality during a mammogram, the next step would be a diagnostic mammogram or ultrasound. Some patients may need a biopsy so that pathologists can examine the cells to determine if the suspicious area is benign or cancerous. Biopsies can be taken during surgery, but a less invasive procedure involves a hollow needle guided by imaging technology – an ultrasound or mammogram.

Stereotactic needle breast biopsy uses low-dose radiation via 2-D or 3-D mammography to pinpoint the abnormal area with a remarkably high level of accuracy and remove multiple tissue samples with one insertion. It’s less painful than surgery, leaves little to no scarring and can help physicians diagnose smaller cancers more easily.

Henry Moses, M.D., a breast cancer specialist at Sumter Surgical, a Palmetto Health-USC Medical Group practice, is excited about the technology. “This is a tremendous benefit,” he said. “Every woman who comes in who’s been told she has an abnormal mammogram is convinced of the worst. They’re dealing with stressful, challenging information. They’re devastated. So the quicker we can get an answer for them, the better.”

Hologic Affirm Prone Biopsy System at Palmetto Health Tuomey

Moses noted that mammogram- and ultrasound-guided needle biopsies, which have been around for a while, have reduced the number of patients who have to go to the operating room to have a surgical biopsy. Having a machine that offers 3-D imagery significantly helps more women avoid surgery, which “greatly reduces the amount of stress and anxiety women feel,” he said.

Radiologist Bert Parker, M.D., is trained in diagnostic and interventional radiology. He applauded Palmetto Health Tuomey for installing 3-D mammography equipment last year and, now, for installing the needle biopsy equipment that is designed to utilize both 2-D and 3-D imaging information.

Parker said, “Breast cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer deaths in women. Early detection is so important. The principles of mammography have been the same for the past 20 years, but now we’re able to look at so much more. We are finding more invasive cancers earlier,” which means getting a solid treatment plan in place more quickly.

Michelle Logan-Owens, Palmetto Health Tuomey chief operating officer added, “Women are the heart of the home, and Palmetto Health Tuomey is committed to providing a full complement of exceptional women’s health services in our community. This technology provides women a less invasive means of obtaining a definitive diagnosis so that we can ensure they get the care and support they need as quickly as possible.”

For more information about Palmetto Health Tuomey, visit

About Palmetto Health
Palmetto Health, the largest health care system in the South Carolina Midlands region and one of the state’s largest employers, comprises more than 15,000 team members, physicians and volunteers working together to fulfill Palmetto Health’s Vision: To be remembered by each patient as providing the care and compassion we want for our families and ourselves. The system includes six acute-care hospitals in the Midlands—Palmetto Health Baptist, Palmetto Health Baptist Parkridge, Palmetto Health Children’s Hospital, Palmetto Health Heart Hospital, Palmetto Health Richland and Palmetto Health Tuomey. In the South Carolina Upstate region, Palmetto Health also co-owns Baptist Easley Hospital. Recognized nationally as one of the best places to work and receive care, the system also includes the Palmetto Health-USC Medical Group, the region’s largest multispecialty group, which serves as the entry point to the health care system with more than 500 providers serving patients in more than 80 practices and nearly 100 locations. Palmetto Health also is supported by two 501 (c)(3) foundations, and trains the next generation of physicians through its 24 residency and fellowship programs affiliated with the University of South Carolina School of Medicine. For more information, visit or call 803-296-CARE (2273).


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