Athens Regional Health System

Benefits and Risks

The benefits of ultrasound-guided biopsy include:

  • The procedure reliably provides tissue samples that can determine whether a breast lump is benign or malignant.

  • It takes much less time than surgical biopsy and causes less tissue damage.

  • Compared to stereotactic-guided breast biopsy, the ultrasound method is faster and avoids the need for radiation exposure.

  • It is able to evaluate lumps under the arm or near the chest wall, which are hard to access by the stereotactic method.

The risks of ultrasound-guided biopsy include:

  • When the Vacuum Assisted Device is used for ultrasound-guided breast biopsy, larger pieces of tissue are removed and there is a risk of bleeding. Infection can occur whenever the skin is penetrated, but the chance of infection requiring antibiotic therapy is less than 1 in 1,000.

  • As with other types of biopsy, ultrasound-guided biopsy occasionally will miss a lump or underestimate the extent of the disease. If your diagnosis remains uncertain after a technically successful procedure, surgical biopsy will be necessary.

  • Smaller lumps (lesions) may be difficult to target accurately by ultrasound-guided biopsy and may actually be missed.
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