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Background: Histological confirmation of a breast lesion is an important step to determine the aetiology and direct further management. Evidence supports ultrasound-guided large core needle biopsy (US-LCNB) (14 gauge) as the preferred diagnostic method over traditional open surgical biopsy.
Objective: To assess the influence of technical variables on the diagnostic yield of breast specimens obtained by using US-LCNB, and the sensitivity of detecting malignancy during the study period.
Methods: A retrospective chart review was conducted of all patients who had US-LCNBs from March 2011 – September 2012 at Addington Hospital in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal. Histopathological findings were correlated to the size of the breast lesion, rank of the radiologist performing the procedure and the number of cores obtained. The sensitivity of the technique was determined.
Results: During the study period, 147 biopsies were performed. The majority of lesions were >5 mm (85.5%). The average number of cores was 4, and 79.5% of the biopsies were performed by the senior radiologist. Of the 147 biopsies, 132 specimens were eligible for inclusion in the study. Histopathology revealed 71 malignant lesions of which 60 were confirmed histologically at excision. In 11 patients, no excision was performed. Therefore, the sensitivity of detecting malignancy was 100%.
Conclusion: Although the study did not establish a statistically significant relationship between the abovementioned technical variables and the histological outcome, the overall diagnostic yield and the sensitivity of detecting malignancy using US-LCNB is comparable to other similar international studies. A prospective study with long-term follow-up of patients would be of value.