Stereotactic and Ultrasound Core Biopsies

Both stereotactic and ultrasound core biopsies are minimally invasive procedures that allow the radiologist to obtain tissue cores of lumps or masses for pathologic evaluation. Although neither is completely without discomfort, both are easier than most other methods and allow the radiologist to evaluate a lump that cannot be felt on breast examination but is seen on mammogram or ultrasound.

A stereotactic biopsy is performed using a special type of X-ray instrument that can precisely locate the area of the breast from which the biopsy sample is to be taken. After an injection of lidocaine to anaesthetize the area, a small incision is made in the skin of the breast and a needle is computer guided to the exact biopsy site to collect a tissue sample. Stereotactic biopsy may not be appropriate for all types of breast lumps.

An ultrasound core biopsy uses a large needle fitted with a special cutting tip. Using an ultrasound image the physician guides the needle toward the lump, where it collects a core of tissue about the size of a pencil lead.