The key difference between stereotactic biopsy and ultrasound biopsy is that stereotactic biopsy uses x-ray to accurately guide the needle into the correct location, while ultrasound biopsy uses ultrasound waves to accurately guide the needle into the correct location.
A biopsy is a medical procedure in which a sample of cells or a piece of tissue is removed in order to examine it under the microscope and analyze it in the laboratory. Most often, a biopsy is done when the area of the body feels abnormal, specifically to check for cancer. There are different types of biopsies. Stereotactic biopsy and ultrasound biopsy are two types.
1. Overview and Key Difference
2. What is Stereotactic Biopsy
3. What is Ultrasound Biopsy
4. Similarities – Stereotactic Biopsy and Ultrasound Biopsy
5. Stereotactic Biopsy vs Ultrasound Biopsy in Tabular Form
6. Summary – Stereotactic Biopsy vs Ultrasound Biopsy
What is Stereotactic Biopsy?
Stereotactic biopsy is a kind of mammographically guided biopsy that uses x-ray to detect breast cancer or abnormality in breasts. In order to place the biopsy needle precisely at the correct location, stereotactic biopsy utilizes x radiation. Once placed, a small sample of tissue is removed for further examination in the laboratory. A radiologist carries out this step after the application of local anesthesia by a doctor. After collection of the sample, it is sent to the pathology lab in order to check the presence or absence of cancer cells. It may take less than a week to release the report of the analysis.
Generally, a physician recommends stereotactic biopsy when a small growth or a calcium deposit appears in the mammogram. Sometimes, an ultrasound or physical exam fails to show these abnormalities in comparison to a mammogram. Stereotactic biopsy is a simple, low risk and less invasive procedure. It also needs less recovery time and does not show significant scarring to the breast. Sometimes, it is used to detect brain tumors as well.
What is Ultrasound Biopsy?
Ultrasound biopsy is an image-guided biopsy that uses ultrasound waves to place the biopsy needle precisely at the correct location. Therefore, ultrasound biopsy does not use radiation. Instead, it uses high-frequency sound. These sound waves help to locate the biopsy needle at the precise location and remove a sample of tissue for further examination for cancer cells. Similar to stereotactic biopsy, ultrasound biopsy is also performed by a trained radiologist. Ultrasound biopsy is a simple, economical, less time-consuming, real-time procedure. It is often used for the detection of breast cancer or abnormalities. It is also used for lymph node and liver cancer detection.
Ultrasound biopsy is less expensive than stereotactic biopsy. Moreover, unlike stereotactic biopsy, ultrasound biopsy is able to evaluate lumps under the arm or near the chest wall. Not only that, ultrasound biopsy is faster than stereotactic biopsy.
What are the Similarities Between Stereotactic Biopsy and Ultrasound Biopsy?
- In both stereotactic biopsy and ultrasound biopsy, a small sample of tissue is removed for further examination.
- A hollow needle is used in both procedures.
- A specially trained radiologist carries out the biopsy in both types.
- In both procedures, local anesthesia should be used.
- Both procedures detect abnormality within the breast or breast cancer.
- They are non-surgical methods of assessing a breast abnormality.
- Both are less invasive than a surgical biopsy.
- They are relatively simple procedures.
What is the Difference Between Stereotactic Biopsy and Ultrasound Biopsy?
Stereotactic biopsy uses an x-ray to examine and place the needle, while ultrasound biopsy uses ultrasound waves to place the biopsy needle. Thus, this is the key difference between stereotactic biopsy and ultrasound biopsy. Unlike stereotactic biopsy, ultrasound biopsy does not use ionizing radiation. Moreover, ultrasound biopsy is less expensive and faster than stereotactic biopsy.
The below infographic presents the differences between stereotactic biopsy and ultrasound biopsy in tabular form for side by side comparison.
Summary – Stereotactic Biopsy vs Ultrasound Biopsy
Stereotactic biopsy and ultrasound biopsy are two relatively simple and less invasive biopsies than surgical biopsy. Stereotactic biopsy uses x radiation to guide the biopsy needle to the accurate location. In contrast, ultrasound biopsy uses sound waves to locate the biopsy needle to the accurate place. Ultrasound biopsy is faster than stereotactic biopsy. Moreover, it is less expensive than stereotactic biopsy. So, this is the summary of the difference between stereotactic biopsy and ultrasound biopsy.
1. “Stereotactic Breast Biopsy: What Happens, Results, and Outlook.” Medical News Today, MediLexicon International.
2. “Ultrasound-Guided Breast Biopsy.” RadiologyInfo.org, 30 July 2021.
1. “Stereotactic brain biopsy simple” By SimplisticReps – Own work (CC BY-SA 4.0) via Commons Wikimedia
2. “Parasite150100-fig2 Ultrasound-guided core-needle biopsy of hepatic alveolar echinococcosis” By Mesut Bulakci, Mehmet Ilhan, Suleyman Bademler, Erdem Yilmaz, Mine Gulluoglu, Adem Bayraktar, Murat Asik and Recep Guloglu – (2016). “Efficacy of ultrasound-guided core-needle biopsy in the diagnosis of hepatic alveolar echinococcosis: a retrospective analysis”. Parasite 23: 19. DOI:10.1051/parasite/2016019. ISSN 1776-1042. (CC BY 4.0) via Commons Wikimedia
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