Surgical Breast Biopsies Overused in Florida

GAINESVILLE – Too many Florida women are having invasive surgical breast biopsies, according to scientists at the University of Florida. They say needle biopsies would be less invasive, safer and cheaper. [audio:|titles=biopsies|artists=Lhee]

A needle biopsy involves a local anesthetic and does not require any recovery time.

For a surgical biopsy, patients often have general anesthesia. They are at a higher risk for infection and may leave the hospital with a scar.

UF researchers found 30 percent of breast biopsies in Florida were surgical. That’s three times more than what many scientists believe is appropriate.

Researcher Stephen Grobmyer said health care providers and patients need to be more aware of their options.

"People don’t realize that a needle biopsy can be just as effective in most cases as an open surgical biopsy as an initial step to determine whether something needs further evaluation or treatment," Grobmyer said.

The findings were published this month in the American Journal of Surgery. [ | FPR Spot]