The Evolving Role of Vacuum Assisted Biopsy of the Breast: A Progression from Fine-Needle Aspiration Biopsy

  • Ian C. BennettEmail author
  • Apoorva Saboo
Scientific Review



The management of breast disease has been greatly facilitated by the technology of needle biopsy interventions, and over the past 30 years, this has evolved from the use of fine-needle aspiration biopsy (FNAB) to the current methodology of vacuum assisted biopsy (VAB).


This article provides an historical review of the application of needle interventions of the breast in the diagnosis and management of breast conditions, and discusses current indications for the use of vacuum assisted biopsies and vacuum assisted excisions.


Whilst FNAB continues to have a limited role in breast disease diagnosis, the necessity of achieving an histological diagnosis has preferentially seen the development and wider application of automated core needle biopsies (CNB) and VAB in the assessment and management of breast lesions. The advantages of CNB and VAB include the ability to distinguish in situ and invasive disease pre-operatively, and the ability to achieve prior knowledge of immunohistochemical tumour markers particularly in the setting of neoadjuvant drug treatments.


Due to its ability to obtain larger tissue samples, VAB does have diagnostic advantages over CNB and indications for the utilization of VAB are discussed. VAB additionally has an expanding role as a tool for breast lesion excision.


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Société Internationale de Chirurgie 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Breast and Endocrine Surgical Unit, Princess Alexandra HospitalUniversity of QueenslandWoolloongabba, BrisbaneAustralia

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