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Breast Biopsy - Vacuum-Assisted Biopsy

Last Updated on Jan 27, 2016
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What is Vacuum-Assisted Biopsy?

Vacuum-assisted biopsy is a minimally invasive procedure, and involves removal of multiple tissue samples with the help of a special instrument under imaging guidance (stereotactic mammography or ultrasound imaging).

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The special biopsy probe used is inserted and properly positioned. A vacuum draws the breast tissue through the aperture of the probe into the sampling chamber of the device. The tissue inside the sampling chamber is collected by a rotating cutting device in the instrument. This cut sample is carried through the biopsy probe to a tissue collection receptacle.

The surgeon then moves the sampling chamber to a new position and the same procedure is repeated until the desired number of samples is obtained.

When sufficient number of tissue samples has been collected, the surgeon removes the probe and applies pressure to the biopsy site. An adhesive bandage is applied to the skin. The test procedure can be performed under local anesthesia with the procedure taking less than one hour.

Advantages of vacuum-assisted biopsy

  • It is a minimally invasivebreast biopsy procedure.
  • This biopsy procedure is able to remove approximately twice the amount of breast tissue compared with core needle biopsy.
  • It causes no significant scaring.
  • Tissue samples can be taken all around a suspicious area through a single skin incision. With a core needle biopsy, sampling of multiple areas would involve repeated insertions of the biopsy instrument.
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Disadvantages of vacuum-assisted biopsy

  • It requires a highly skilled radiologist or surgeon who is experienced in performing the procedure.
  • Some patients are not good candidates for vacuum-assisted biopsy or may have lesions (breast abnormalities) that are difficult to locate with minimally-invasive equipment.

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