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More IG-Needles and IG-Vacuum, Fewer Cyst Aspirations


WASHINGTON, DC-More image guided percutaneous core needle biopsies and image guided percutaneous automated vacuum assisted biopsies are performed.

The frequency of image guided percutaneous core needle biopsy (IG-needle) and image guided percutaneous automated vacuum assisted biopsy (IG-vacuum) is rising, while the frequency of non IG-needle and cyst aspiration is decreasing, according to a presentation at ACR 2015, held this week in Washington, DC.

Researchers from Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, GA, and the Harvey L. Neiman Health Policy Institute in Reston, VA, sought to evaluate national specialty trends in breast biopsy and aspiration utilization over two decades.

The researchers reviewed claims data for IG-needle, IG-vacuum, non-IG-needle, and cyst aspiration that were extracted from Medicare Physician/Supplier Procedure Summary Master Files from 1991 through 2012. They compared procedure volumes by specialty group (radiology versus other).

Results showed:

Between 1991–2000
24,972 to 40,074 (+60%)
5,809 (–85%)
Cyst aspiration
26,629 to 49,474 (+85%)
19,793 (–60%)

There were no specific procedure codes for IG-needle and IG-vacuum until 2000, so trends from 1991 to 1999 could not be ascertained.

Between 2000–2012
Utilization increased from 25 to 62,825
Utilization increased from 7 to 126,616





Radiologists were the dominant provider for both IG-needle and IG-vacuum, but the percentage of services rendered by radiologists decreased over time from 96% to 90% for IG-needle, and increased from 71% to 75% for IG-vacuum, when compared to other specialties.

Nonradiologists were the dominant provider group for the non-IG-needle and the percentage of radiologists' contribution has decreased from 18% to 3% over time. For cyst aspiration, nonradiologists were the dominant providers up through 2002; since then, the radiologists have dominated and currently perform 67% of cyst aspirations.

The researchers concluded that over the past 20 years, the frequency of IG-needle and IG-vacuum on Medicare Part B beneficiaries has increased considerably while there has been a decrease in the frequency of non IG-needle and cyst aspiration.

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