Mammotome biopsy causes significantly less internal breast scarring
than open surgical biopsy and is less likely to interfere with a
radiologists ability to read subsequent mammograms, according
to a new study presented at the third annual Multidisciplinary
Symposium on Breast Disease in Amelia Island, Florida, a medical
conference of radiologists and surgeons specializing in breast disease.
The study indicates that, compared to Mammotome biopsy, internal
scarring from open surgical breast biopsy is more than twice as
likely to influence the radiologists ability to read a
subsequent mammogram. Researchers also found that open surgical
biopsy caused nearly twice as much internal scarring as did Mammotome biopsy.
Scarring and Mammography
The study suggests that women who have open surgical biopsy are more
likely to develop changes on future mammograms than are women who
have had a Mammotome biopsy, said lead author Catherine A. Kusnick,
MD, assistant professor of radiology at the University of Iowa
College of Medicine. These changes may require additional
mammographic evaluation on future mammograms.
Scarring from open surgical biopsy influenced the confidence level in
reading mammograms in more than 72% of cases studied. In contrast,
Mammotome biopsy influenced the confidence level in only 29.5% of
"This is a significant improvement. Post biopsy scarring can
sometimes mimic or mask subtle breast cancers. The reduced rate of
scarring from Mammotome biopsy compared to surgical biopsy may make
it easier for radiologists to read future mammograms," said Dr. Kusnick.
Researchers identified scarring on one-half of mammograms following
open surgical biopsy, as compared with only 27.3% of mammograms
following Mammotome biopsy.
The study involved five radiologists specializing in mammography but
with different experience levels, who were blinded to biopsy
technique, breast lesion location, and identifying features. The
radiologists examined two sets of mammograms, 14 surgical and 19
Mammotome cases. Even with the relatively small number of cases, the
methodology and findings indicate significant statistical accuracy
for the study, Dr. Kusnick said.
Mammotome biopsy allows women to have a quick, minimally invasive
breast biopsy. During the half-hour, outpatient procedure, the
physician inserts a sampling probe through a small nick in the
patients breast, which does not have to be repeatedly removed
and inserted. Following the biopsy, the patient goes home with a
small adhesive strip to cover the skin nick.
Open surgical biopsy, by comparison, is a more costly, time-consuming
process that requires anesthesia, an operating room, and sutures.