Calcification is a common process where small spots of calcium spots deposit themselves in breast tissue. These deposits can be the result of aging or other breast conditions such as fibroadenoma or cysts. Inflammation or foreign bodies such as implants or stitches can also lead to calcification.
Injury or breast surgery can lead to microcalcification. Surgery such as silicone implants or removal of tissues are other probable causes. If you have undergone radiation treatment in the chest area, you are at higher risk for developing breast calcifications. Calcium deposits within the milk ducts or within the breast arteries are other causes for developing breast calcifications. Any breast infection such as mastitis or dermatitis is yet another cause for calcification within the breast. Breast calcifications are not caused due to dietary calcium.
The best diagnostic tool to detect breast calcification is a high quality mammography done by a radiologist who is skilled in the proper positioning and compression of the breast. Such mammograms are best viewed on high-luminance viewers where extraneous glare and light is eliminated. The morphology is an important determinant in detecting malignancy of breast calcifications. A biopsy can confirm the readings. When instances of calcification are detected, mammograms are routinely taken to determine the stability of the calcifications. Suspicious mammogram must be followed by core needle biopsy, as it is minimally traumatic and relatively less expensive than surgical biopsy.
This is a procedure in which muscle tissue is removed from an organism and examined microscopically. Muscle biopsies can distinguish between Myopathies, (the pathology is in the muscle tissue itself) and neuropathies (pathology is at the nerves innervating those muscles) by means of microscopic analysis. Problems could be detected in a nervous system, in connective tissue, vascular or musculoskeletal system. A variety of Myopathies can cause centronuclear biopsy and hence a specific genetic testing becomes increasingly important.
What is muscle biopsy?
This is a procedure when a small sample of tissue is removed for testing in a laboratory. The test detects an infection or disease in the muscles. This is a relatively simple procedure. It is done as an outpatient basis, and the patient is free to leave on the same day as the procedure. As it is often done on a local anesthesia, the doctor removes the tissue from the area but the patient remains awake for the test.
Reasons for a muscle biopsy
This is done when the doctor suspects an infection in the muscle. The biopsy is done to help the doctor rule out certain conditions that could cause the symptoms and then proceed with an appropriate treatment plan.
Risks of a muscle biopsy
There is always a risk of infection or bleeding or bruising possible when a medical procedure that breaks the skin is performed. However, since the incision here is quite small, especially in needle biopsy, the risk is much lower. An electromyography is done in case of recent muscle damage. Very rarely there could be damage to the muscle where the needle is inserted.
Muscle biopsy procedure
There are two ways in which muscle biopsies are performed - the common method is called a needle biopsy and for this procedure, the doctor inserts a thin needle through the skin and remove the muscle tissue. This could be:
Core needle biopsy with a medium sized needle, similar to the way core samples are taken from the earth
Fine needle biopsy using a thin needle attached to a syringe, fluids and cells are drawn out.
Image-guided biopsy where the needle biopsy is guided with imaging procedure; such as x rays and CT scans.
Vacuum assisted biopsy uses suction from a vacuum to collect more cells.
The patient receives a needle biopsy after a local anesthesia and will not feel any pain or discomfort. There will be pressure in the area where the biopsy is taken and the area may be sore for about a week. In case the muscle sample is far to reach and is in deep muscles, the doctor may choose to perform an open biopsy. The doctor will make a small cut in the skin and then remove the muscle tissue from there.
For instance, if patient needs have a biopsy in the leg, he/she must expect to use crutches or another assistive device for two full days after biopsy. Training with crutches is provided. Some patients may need assistance at home during the recuperation period. If patients have had a biopsy in the arm, they must expect to wear a sling for two days. Stitches do not need to be removed but must remain completely dry for a couple of days.
In general, there are few complications and the resulting scar heals well. After the tissue sample is taken, it is sent to a laboratory for testing and the results would be ready in a couple of week's time. A report on frozen or paraffin specimens will be sent to the referring physician. The small piece of muscle tissue is examined by microscopic techniques to check for presence of fibrous tissue or other abnormalities. The extracted tissue can also be stained for detecting absence of presence of particular proteins. Microscopic examination can also reveal if the muscle fibers are being infiltrated by the immune system.
In case the results are abnormal, it could mean there is an infection or disease in the muscles and this may cause them to weaken or die. The doctor may prescribe additional tests to confirm the diagnosis and how far the condition has gone. Treatment options are discussed and further steps taken.
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Collection of Pages - Last revised Date: September 21, 2023