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Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC Performs First 3-D Guided Breast Biopsy in U.S.

UPMC Life Changing Medicine


Radiologists with Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC last month performed the country’s first 3-D guided breast biopsy, making it the first center in the U.S. to offer this advanced biopsy technique for the benefit of its patients. The new system complements the 3-D breast cancer screening equipment known as breast tomosynthesis that Magee radiologists helped develop.

3-D guided biopsies allow the localization and accurate targeting of regions of interest using 3-D mammography, which creates a complete reconstruction of the breast, giving radiologists the ability to identify certain abnormalities which can be difficult to detect with traditional screening techniques. The recently FDA-cleared biopsy system by Hologic, Inc. has numerous advantages over traditional stereotactic biopsy procedures, including faster lesion targeting, reduced patient procedure time and reduced radiation exposure.

“This biopsy option is especially valuable for women with breast lesions that are hard to reach with standard biopsy procedures, as well as for women with arthritis or other physical issues that make traditional biopsy difficult,” said Jules Sumkin, D.O., chief of radiology at Magee.

Much of the initial 3-D research was conducted at Magee, whose researchers remain the most widely published group in the U.S. on the technology.

“The ability for us to provide 3-D guided biopsy to our patients represents an exciting new example of our leadership in this area,” said Dr. Sumkin. “Magee radiologists continue to play a pivotal role in the development and advancement of this technology.”

By offering women the latest technology in mammography and breast biopsy, Magee expects to see more women routinely screened for breast cancer. Breast cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer death among women, exceeded only by lung cancer.  Statistics indicate that one in eight women will develop the disease in her lifetime.

The stage at which breast cancer is detected influences a woman’s chance of survival. If detected early, the five-year survival rate is 98 percent.