Rates and indications for surgical breast biopsies in a community-based health system

Laurel Soot, Roshanthi Weerasinghe, Lian Wang, Heidi D. Nelson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Scopus citations


Background High rates of surgical breast biopsies in community hospitals have been reported but may misrepresent actual practice. Methods Patient-level data from 5,757 women who underwent breast biopsies in a large integrated health system were evaluated to determine biopsy types, rates, indications, and diagnoses. Results Between 2008 and 2010, 6,047 breast biopsies were performed on 5,757 women. Surgical biopsy was the initial diagnostic procedure in 16% (n = 942) of women overall and in 6% (72 of 1,236) of women with newly diagnosed invasive breast cancer. Invasive breast cancer was diagnosed in 72 women (8%) undergoing surgical biopsy compared with 1,164 (24%) undergoing core needle biopsy (P <.001, age adjusted). Main indications for surgical biopsies included symptomatic abnormalities, technical challenges, and patient choice. Conclusions Surgical biopsy was the initial diagnostic procedure in 16% of women with breast abnormalities, comparable with rates at academic centers. Rates could be improved by more careful consideration of indications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)499-503
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican journal of surgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2014



  • Breast cancer diagnosis
  • Percutaneous core needle breast biopsy
  • Surgical breast biopsy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery

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