Objective: To determine whether stereotactic core biopsy (SCNB) is the diagnostic method of choice for all mammographic abnormalities requiring tissue sampling. Summary Background Data: Stereotactic core needle biopsy decreases the cost of diagnosis, but its impact on the number of surgical procedures needed to complete local therapy has not been studied in a large, unselected patient population. Methods: A total of 1,852 mammographic abnormalities in 1,550 consecutive patients were prospectively categorized for level of cancer risk and underwent SCNB or diagnostic needle localization and surgical excision. Diagnosis, type of cancer surgery, and number of surgical procedures to complete local therapy were obtained from surgical and pathology databases. Results: The malignancy rate was 24%. Surgical biopsy patients were older, more likely to have cancer, and more likely to be treated with breast-conserving therapy than those in the SCNB group. For all types of lesions, regardless of degree of suspicion, patients diagnosed by SCNB were almost three times more likely to have one surgical procedure. However, for patients treated with lumpectomy alone, the number of surgical procedures and the rate of negative margins did not differ between groups. Conclusions: Stereotactic core needle biopsy is the diagnostic procedure of choice for most mammographic abnormalities. However, for patients undergoing lumpectomy without axillary surgery, it is an extra invasive procedure that does not facilitate obtaining negative margins.
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