Are Stereotaxic Breast Biopsies Adequate?

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Stereotaxic core breast biopsy (SCBB) has been proposed as a cost-effective and reliable method of evaluating mammographic lesions. This study evaluates an initial experience with SCBB and assesses the adequacy of the biopsy specimens obtained.


Two hundred forty-one SCBB were performed on 221 patients during 13 months by four radiologists. Mammograms were assigned a suspicion index on a scale of 1 to 5. One pathologist performed a blinded retrospective review of all SCBB specimens and assigned an adequacy score based on the quality and amount of the tissue present.


The majority of SCBB were ordered by general surgeons (67%). A suspicion index score of 3 was assigned to 74% of lesion specimens. Twelve percent of specimens were malignant. Overall SCBB adequacy (score > or = 2) was 77%. Adequacy was present in 74% of benign biopsy specimens as compared with 100% of malignant specimens (p < 0.005). Only 62% of specimens reported as benign without specific features were adequate. There were no differences in adequacy between individual radiologists or during the study period.


SCBB is largely used by surgeons to assess indeterminate mammographic lesions. One of four benign specimens was inadequate. Benign SCBB specimens must be interpreted with caution.

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