Fine Needle Biopsy

Article Conference CoverageFrom AIUM 44th Conference held in San Francisco, California - April, 2000

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Barbara Nesbitt: "I’m Barbara Nesbitt, the Executive Editor of and I’m at AIUM in San Francisco. I have the pleasure of talking with Dr. Kaplan from New Jersey who has invented a new product to do fine needle biopsies. You can do them in the office, they’re accurate, and you can have the results within twenty-four hours. The reason I’m interested in it is because, as you all know, I had breast cancer four years ago. Dr. Kaplan, please tell us about this wonderful thing."

Dr. Kaplan: “Up to now all fine needle aspiration biopsies are done manually.  A very prominent physician has stated that it takes somebody about 200 to 400 procedures to become reasonably competent and even so, the rate of inadequate tissue extraction is perhaps 20%.  To me that’s not satisfactory so I have thought for a long time of how to correct the situation, and one day the idea came to me while walking along the streets of New York City when I saw a construction crew using a jackhammer.  I went home and for the past year I have been working with a team of professionals to develop a handheld automated fine needle biopsy device.  Right now, if you have 100 physicians doing the fine needle procedure manually, you’re going to get 100 different ways of doing it.  I thought that by standardizing the procedure and making it programmable, you could have predictable results time after time.  This will enable a woman to come into a doctor’s office, she will have a mammogram and if something is suspicious, if the doctor has an understanding with the referring physician, he can go ahead with the fine needle biopsy without anesthesia and without a skin incision and do the procedure in five to ten minutes at most. Also, if a surgeon feels a lump, he can do a biopsy immediately in less than 10 minutes. He then can have the slide sent to a cytopathologist, and hopefully, the answer to the lady will come back the following day.  At the present time in many, many instances a woman has to wait two to three weeks between the initial mammogram and the final diagnosis, and you can imagine the agony that she goes through during those two or three weeks.  I think this will be a great boon not only to fine needle aspiration biopsy where the results will be programmable but think of the agony that a woman will not have to endure by not having to wait two to three weeks to get an answer to an abnormality seen on the mammogram.  Right now we’re going to be doing clinical trials on it and we’re going to be looking for companies who might be interested in developing this and marketing it.  So that gives you a brief summary of the automated fine needle aspiration biopsy device.”

Barbara Nesbitt: "Now is this something a radiologist does or is this something a beast cancer surgeon could be trained to do?"

Dr. Kaplan: “A radiologist, a breast cancer surgeon, an oncologist, pathologist anybody who has any kind of dexterity can do the procedure.  It is not confined to a radiologist’s office.”

Barbara Nesbitt: "Now, you are a retired radiologist yourself, right doctor?"

Dr. Kaplan: "That is correct."

Barbara Nesbitt: "So this is something that you have seen a need for and you have developed."

Dr. Kaplan: "Absolutely, I have a keen interest in mammography and ultrasound. I’ve been doing it ever since both of these modalities were invented so I know what the need is in the world, and as far as I know, there is no product like this in the world. I would like to add that this device can be used any place in the body where fine needle aspiration biopsies are now performed."

Barbara Nesbitt: "I think it’s a wonderful thing and I hope you have nothing but success with it. I thank you for sharing it with us here today."

Dr. Kaplan: "You’re very welcome."

Barbara Nesbitt: "Thank you, doctor."

Dr. Kaplan: "Thank you very much."

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