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Am Surg. 1996 Aug;62(8):637-9; discussion 639-40.

Will stereotactic breast biopsy achieve results as good as current techniques?

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  • 1Department of Surgery, Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland, USA.


Stereotactic procedures recently have been advocated to replace most needle localization and open biopsy procedures. In order to provide a baseline for comparison at our institution, a retrospective review of our results over the last 3 years was performed. During this time period, 496 biopsies were performed in 480 patients. Needle localization was done in 311 cases, whereas the remaining 185 biopsies were done for palpable masses. There were no significant differences in either the positive rate (19.0% vs 13.5%) or the infection rate (2.6% vs 1.6%) in the two groups. Follow-up of all patients has revealed no missed carcinomas and no referrals to a plastic surgeon for a poor cosmetic result. Current breast biopsy techniques yield good results, with acceptably low morbidity rates. Given that approximately one in five needle localization biopsies detects a malignancy, a negative result following a stereotactic biopsy may not preclude a needle localization procedure. It is therefore unlikely that stereotactic procedures will lead to an overall decrease in health care costs. Surgeon involvement will be crucial to assure best and most cost-effective results.

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