Breast Surgery | Histology Uses and Costs
To all patients considering breast surgery, their health and well-being are top priorities. Histologies are an important factor in the care provided to patients and provide early detection of abnormalities within the breast tissue. Learn more about histology tests and pricing.
Written by Chloe Gale
Medical Review by Medical Quality Officer, David Jones , MPharm
Published: Wednesday, 31 August 2022
Patient safety is our highest priority, and all our surgeons proactively do all they can to ensure the health and well-being of all our patients. For this reason, it is possible that for your breast surgery, your surgeon will recommend and send off for a histology analysis (also known as a biopsy) on the tissue removed in your operation.
It’s common for histology to be performed on patients undergoing:
Surgeons may also recommend histology for patients undergoing:
In this article, we discuss more about histologies, their purpose and pricing.
What is histology?
Histology or biopsy is an analysis of the breast tissue removed during breast surgery or the analysis of the breast implant capsule that naturally forms around an implant removed in a breast implant replacement/removal. During the procedure, the surgeon will send your breast tissue or the capsule tissue for testing.
The histology analysis is prepared using a few steps, and expert assessment is used to analyse the tissue:
- Breast tissue or breast capsule is removed and sent to the laboratory
- The tissue or capsule is carefully prepared and separated into a very thin layer of cells.
- This thin layer is placed onto a microscope slide where special dyes are added to make the cells more visible.
- Under a microscope, an expert histopathologist or pathologist analyses the cells, looking for any abnormalities such as cancer.
- Patients will receive their results and recommendations if anything sinister is found.
It is an important factor in the patient’s care and could lead to early detection of breast cancer; more and more surgeons are opting to run these checks on their patients and consider it routine in such surgeries.
Understanding your breast cancer screening options, including questions to ask your GP
How common is it to have abnormal results?
Although studies have shown a very low percentage of incidental breast cancer tissue found in removed breast tissue during breast surgery, the majority of surgeons would advocate having the tissue analysed, especially in older patients or in patients with a family history of breast cancer. It is important to discuss to possibility of histology with your surgeon in consultation.
Histology does incur an extra cost as the tissue needs to be analysed by a specialist consultant histopathologist.
How much does histology cost?
Following the procedure, patients who have had the histology carried out may receive an invoice for the testing performed.
Histologies can cost between £200 - £1200, and, as mentioned in our Terms and Conditions, it is not included in the final price of the surgery unless specified by your Patient Care Adviser. It’s important patients speak to their surgeon in consultation to discuss the possibility of histology testing so that they can prepare and budget for possible additional costs. The histology provides patients with the opportunity to have everything checked so they can put their minds at ease regarding foreseeable cancer scares, and our surgeons strongly encourage all patients to think about it.
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