To assess whether vacuum-assisted excision (VAE) is a safe alternative to surgery in the treatment of breast lesions of uncertain malignant potential (B3) in which no atypia is present on needle core biopsy (NCB). Forty two VAE procedures were performed for B3 lesions. Twenty four (57%) were papillary lesions. Eighteen (43%) were radial scars. Two patients (4.7%) were upgraded to carcinoma at VAE. Two patients with papillary lesions went on to develop cancer in the same breast (at 24 and 41 months post VAE). No cancer developed in the radial scar group. Eight patients (19%) had surgery - four for carcinoma, two for radial scars missed at VAE excision and two for symptomatic papillomatosis. Follow-up mammography after VAE of radial scars often showed residual distortion. VAE can be a safe alternative to surgery in the treatment of B3 lesions without atypia, providing thorough multidisciplinary discussion has taken place.