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Dr. Tan Chuan Chien

Ultrasound-Guided Breast Biopsy

An ultrasound-guided breast biopsy is a diagnostic treatment that produces high-quality images of your breast using sound waves to find a lump or abnormality and extract a tissue sample for evaluation under a microscope. It is a minimally invasive and relatively safe procedure.

What Happens During an Ultrasound-Guided Breast Biopsy?

It is performed on an ultrasound table while lying on your back with your arm lifted above your head. A special, warm gel is applied to your breast prior to the biopsy. The transducer is then put on your breast and slowly pushed back and forth to pinpoint the spot that will be biopsied.

The doctor will clean the region and inject a local anaesthetic once it has been detected. A little incision will be made once the area is fully numb. Several cores of tissue will be extracted and sent to the laboratory for assessment by a pathologist. After that, a tissue marker may be applied. The purpose of the marker is to ensure that the exact area can be located for further treatment (if needed) or follow up. You cannot feel or see the marker.

Why Is an Ultrasound-Guided Breast Biopsy Done?

An ultrasound-guided breast biopsy may be recommended by your doctor for a variety of reasons. These may include the following:

  • During an examination, your doctor detects a lump or thickening in your breast, and your doctor suspects breast cancer.
  • Your mammography images reveal an abnormal spot in your breast.
  • An unusual finding is discovered during a breast ultrasound scan or MRI.
  • Unusual changes in your breasts such as crusting, scaling, dimpling skin, or a bloody discharge.
DR. TAN CHUAN CHIEN

Key Guiding Philosophies

Competency

Dr. Tan is a Fellowship-trained Breast & Endocrine Surgeon who is registered on the Specialist Register (General Surgery) in both Singapore and Australia. He completed his formal Breast Surgery training through the BreastSurgANZ Fellowship Programme. He was previously Head, Division of Breast & Endocrine Surgery, NTFGH where he was the pioneer breast surgeon there developing a comprehensive, evidence-based Breast Surgery service.

Care for the wider community

Dr. Tan is passionate about engaging the wider community with regards to breast cancer outcomes. He volunteers with the Singapore Cancer Society and served as the Chairman of the Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign Committee from 2018 to 2021. He continues to currently serve as a member of this committee. During his time in the public hospital, Dr. Tan was involved in research on breast cancer screening and care, where he succeeded in obtaining competitive grants and managing a research team, with the overall aim to improve breast cancer outcomes in Singapore.

Patient-centered care

Dr. Tan believes in the importance of the patient experience and the partnership between doctor and patients in healing sickness. He also believes no two individuals are the same. He believes in the philosophy of personalised tailor-made care plans for each of his patients to meet their individual expectations and needs.

Comprehensive Breast, Thyroid and General Surgery service

Dr. Tan aims to provide comprehensive, evidence-based care to all his patients, in a modern equipped clinic along the entire spectrum of the patient journey from diagnosis, through treatment/surgery and aftercare.

FAQs About Ultrasound-Guided Breast Biopsy

Is an Ultrasound-Guided Breast Biopsy painful?

You may experience some discomfort as the local anaesthetic is injected. However, you should not experience any discomfort throughout the procedure. If you experience any discomfort, inform your doctor. He or she will immediately pause the procedure to inject extra local anaesthetic.

Are there any special precautions I need to take before going for my Ultrasound-Guided Breast Biopsy?

Wear loose-fitting, comfortable clothes on the day of the procedure. All clothing and jewellery in the region to be checked may need to be removed. Do not wear any deodorant, talcum powder or bath oil on the day of the biopsy.

For the procedure, you may need to change into a gown.

Tell your doctor about all of your drugs, including herbal supplements, before having a needle biopsy. Any allergies, especially to anaesthesia, should be noted. Three to five days before the procedure, your doctor may advise you to stop taking aspirin, blood thinners, or certain herbal supplements. This will reduce your chances of bleeding.

Additionally, inform your doctor about any recent illnesses or medical ailments you’ve had.

It is not advisable to drive home by yourself after the procedure, especially if you were sedated.

Is it normal to experience any symptoms after the procedure?

Women may experience minor bruising at the incision site, which should go away in 1 to 2 weeks. You should avoid vigorous activities for the first week after the biopsy since the breast will feel slightly sore and tender. You will be given mild pain relievers, to be taken as needed. If you experience any severe swelling, contact your doctor.

What can I expect after an Ultrasound-Guided Breast Biopsy?

A breast biopsy is a relatively simple and low-risk procedure. The biopsy results will determine how your breast lump should be treated. There is no need for further treatment if the tissue is benign and the findings match the imaging. Even if the entire lump was removed during the biopsy, any presence of cancer cells will require you to undergo additional cancer surgery and treatment.

Another possibility is that the biopsy indicates the presence of ‘high risk’ cells, which could potentially be linked to cancer cells in the surrounding area. In most cases, this will be judged inconclusive, and you will be required to undergo an open surgical biopsy in order to receive a definitive diagnosis.

Dr. Tan Chuan Chien will discuss your results with you and advise you on further on any treatment suitable to your situation.

As a supporter of personalised surgical care, I understand that no two patients are the same. I believe in tailoring management for each patient to meet each individual’s needs and expectations. A patient’s journey can be difficult and frustrating at times, so I strive to make this experience as pleasant and seamless as possible.

Dr. Tan Chuan Chien
For Singaporeans, Singapore Permanent Residents and foreigners

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Dr. Tan Chuan Chien

Consultant General Surgeon Breast & Thyroid Surgery
  • Bachelor of Medicine & Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS)- The University of Adelaide, Australia
  • Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (FRACS)
  • Full Registration, Singapore Medical Council (SMC) and Specialist Accreditation Board, Singapore (General Surgery)
  • Full General & Specialist Registration (General Surgery), Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA)
  • Completed Breast Surgery training through the BreastSurgANZ Fellowship programme
  • Fellow of the Academy of Medicine, Singapore (FAMS)

Dr. Tan Chuan Chien is a Fellowship-trained Breast and Endocrine Surgeon practicing as a Consultant General Surgeon at Gleneagles Hospital, Singapore. He also sees patients at Mount Elizabeth Novena Specialist Centre and Parkway East Medical Centre. Dr. Tan is a registered Specialist Surgeon (General Surgery) in both Singapore and Australia.

Are There Any Risks Posed by an Ultrasound-Guided Breast Biopsy?

An ultrasound-guided breast biopsy is a relatively safe procedure. Though rare, here are some risks posed:

  • Bleeding at the biopsy site producing a hematoma, or a collection of blood.
  • Patients experiencing substantial discomfort, which can be managed with over-the-counter pain relievers.
  • Infection is a possibility with any surgery. Infections requiring antibiotic therapy appear to be rare, with a risk of less than one in 1,000.
  • A biopsy of tissue deep within the breast involves a small risk of the needle passing through the chest wall, depending on the type of biopsy and the architecture of the biopsy machine. This may allow air to enter the lung, causing it to collapse. This is an extremely rare occurrence.

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    SOG - CC Tan Breast, Thyroid & General Surgery

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    SOG - CC Tan Breast, Thyroid & General Surgery
    (Mount Elizabeth Novena)

    SOG - CC Tan Breast, Thyroid & General Surgery
    (Parkway East)

    Thomson Surgical Centre

    MAIN CLINIC

    SOG - CC Tan Breast, Thyroid & General Surgery

    • Gleneagles Medical Centre
      6 Napier Road #08-15/16
      Singapore 258499
    • Mon & Thu: 9:00AM - 5:00PM
      Tue & Fri: 9:00AM - 12:00PM
      Wed & Sat: 9:00AM - 12:30PM
    • T:
    • F: +65 6471 1088
    • M:
    OTHER PRACTICE LOCATIONS

    SOG - CC Tan Breast, Thyroid & General Surgery
    (Mount Elizabeth Novena)

    SOG - CC Tan Breast, Thyroid & General Surgery
    (Parkway East)

    Thomson Surgical Centre