Background: Needle localization breast biopsy (NLBB) is presently the primary means of localizing non-palpable lesions. Disadvantages of NLBB include vasovagal episodes, patient discomfort, and miss rates. Because hematomas naturally fill the cavity after vacuum-assisted breast biopsies (VABB), we hypothesized that ultrasound (US) could be used to find and accurately excise the actual biopsy site of non-palpable breast lesions without a needle. Methods: This is a retrospective study from January 2000 to July 2005. Electronic chart review identified patients with non-palpable breast lesions detected by means of mammogram who then underwent lumpectomy via NLBB or the hematoma-directed ultrasound-guided technique (HUG). HUG involved localizing the hematoma with a 7.5-MHz US probe and using the "line of sight" technique straight down toward the chest wall. A block of tissue encompassing the hematoma was then excised. Results: Localization procedures were performed in 186 patients-63 (34%) via needle localization and 123 (66%) via HUG. The previous VABB site in 100% of patients was successfully excised using HUG, 65 of 123 (53%) were benign and 58 of 123 (47%) were malignant; margins were positive in 13 of these 58 (22%). NLBB was successful in 100% of patients, 44 of 63 (70%) were benign and 19 of 63 (30%) were malignant; margins were positive in 14 of these 19 (73%). Margin positivity was significantly higher for NLBB than HUG (P = 0.0001, Fisher Exact). Conclusions: This study suggests that HUG is more accurate in localizing non-palpable lesions than NLBB. By eliminating the additional procedure needed for NLBB, HUG may also be more time- and cost efficient. HUG makes VABB not only a less invasive diagnostic procedure, but also a localization procedure.
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