Differences between core biopsy of the breast and a stereotactic needle placement

Lawrence J. Solin, M D, F ACR
Last Modified: January 20, 2002

Share article


Dear OncoLink "Ask The Experts,"

What is the difference between a core biopsy of the breast and a stereotactic needle placement?  


Lawrence J. Solin, M D, F ACR, Professor of Radiation Oncology at the University of Pennsylvania, responds:

A core biopsy is when a large size needle is inserted into the breast tumor and a piece of tissue is removed for study in the lab. A core biopsy of a breast lesion is done for diagnosis, generally to determine if a breast lesion is benign or malignant. Also, a core biopsy can be done to confirm that a highly suspicious lesion is, in fact, a carcinoma to help with planning treatment.

Stereotactic needle placement is done by a radiologist as part of a biopsy or core biopsy procedure. During a stereotactic biopsy, a sample of tissue is removed from the breast using a hollow needle, which is accurately guided to the lesion via X-ray, mammography, and precise computer coordinates. The stereotactic needle placement helps to locate a lesion, which cannot be felt but is seen on mammography. This needle placement helps guide the surgeon to remove the correct area of mammographic abnormality at the time of the biopsy.

Breast Cancer Needle Biopsy Results Similar to Open Biopsy

May 22, 2015 - Using stereotactic- and ultrasound-guided core needle biopsy to conduct breast biopsies gives results almost as accurate as open surgical biopsy, and carries a lower risk of complications, according to a study published online Dec. 14 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

I Wish You Knew

3D Mammography: What is it?

View More

Blogs and Web Chats

OncoLink Blogs give our readers a chance to react to and comment on key cancer news topics and provides a forum for OncoLink Experts and readers to share opinions and learn from each other.

OncoLink OncoPilot

Facing a new cancer diagnosis or changing the course of your current treatment? Let our cancer nurses help you through!

Learn More