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One-step procedure

June 10, 2008 - 7:30am
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One-step procedure

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After talking about treatment choices with their doctor, some women choose the one-step procedure. This means they have a mastectomy immediately if their biopsy shows cancer. If you have a one-step procedure, you probably will go to the hospital the night before your biopsy. Some routine tests such as blood and urine tests, a chest x-ray, and an EKG are usually done to tell the doctor about your general health.

You also will be asked to sign a consent form that gives your doctor permission to do more surgery if the biopsy shows cancer. If you do not know what treatment is planned, be sure to ask your doctor or nurse to explain it to you. Shortly before your surgery, you will be given some medicine to help you relax. Then you will be taken to the operating room where the anesthesiologist will put you to sleep. The surgeon will remove the suspicious tissue and send it to the pathologist. The pathologist will check for cancer by looking at frozen sections of the tissue. If the tissue is not cancer, the biopsy will take about an hour. You will probably be able to go home later that same day or the next day.

If cancer is found, the doctor will remove part or all of the breast at that time. You will need to stay in the hospital for 3 to 5 days after this surgery.

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