Comparison of mammographically guided breast biopsy techniques

Ann Surg. 1999 May;229(5):625-30; discussion 630-3. doi: 10.1097/00000658-199905000-00004.


Objective: To determine which mammographically guided breast biopsy technique is the most efficient in making a diagnosis in women with suspicious mammograms.

Summary background data: Mammographically guided biopsy techniques include stereotactic 14-gauge core-needle biopsy (SC bx), stereotactic 11-gauge suction-assisted core biopsy (Mammotome [Mbx]), stereotactic coring excisional biopsy (Advanced Breast Biopsy Instrument [ABBI]), and wire-localized biopsy (WL bx). Controversy exists over which technique is best.

Methods: All patients undergoing any one of these biopsy methods over a 15-month period were reviewed, totaling 245 SC bx, 107 Mbx, 104 ABBI, and 520 WL bx. Information obtained included technical success, pathology, discordant pathology, and need for open biopsy.

Results: Technical success was achieved in 94.3% of SC bx, 96.4% of Mbx, 92.5% of ABBI, and 98.7% of WL bx. The sensitivity and specificity were 87.5% and 98.6% for SC bx, 87.5% and 100% for Mbx, and 100% and 100% for ABBI. Discordant results or need for a repeat biopsy occurred in 25.7% of SC bx, 23.2% of Mbx, and 7.5% of ABBI biopsies. In 63.6% of ABBI and 50.9% of WL bx, positive margins required reexcision; of the cases with positive margins, 71.4% of ABBI and 70.4% of WL bx had residual tumor in the definitive treatment specimen.

Conclusion: Although sensitivities and specificities of SC bx and Mbx are good, 20% to 25% of patients will require an open biopsy because a definitive diagnosis could not be reached. This does not occur with the ABBI excisional biopsy specimen. The positive margin rates and residual tumor rates are comparable between the ABBI and WL bx. The ABBI avoids operating room and reexcision costs; therefore, in appropriately selected patients, this appears to be the most efficient method of biopsy.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Biopsy / methods*
  • Breast Diseases / diagnostic imaging*
  • Breast Diseases / pathology*
  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging*
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Mammography*
  • Sensitivity and Specificity