Market analysts at Millennium Research Groupsay that the growing demographic at risk for breast cancer and increasing compliance with screening programs will spur demand for breast biopsies. Additionally, patients and clinicians are showing a growing preference for minimally invasive biopsies over open surgical alternatives. As a result, sales of breast biopsy devices used in these procedures will expand at a steady pace through 2017.

Within minimally invasive breast biopsies, clinicians are moving toward using more accurate tissue sampling techniques, such as core needle biopsy (CNB) used to get small tissue samples from a breast lump, and vacuum-assisted biopsy (VAB), and away from fine-needle aspiration (FNA).

Growing demand for VAB
VAB uses a special instrument and imaging guidance to remove samples of breast tissue through a single, small skin incision. This technique allows the surgeon to remove more tissue through a single incision than is possible with a traditional core biopsy and is a much less invasive procedure than an open surgical biopsy.

The researchers estimate that the demand for VAB in particular will be driving growth in this market because this is the most diagnostically accurate method of breast biopsy and VAB devices have higher selling prices. VAB devices will therefore continue to represent the largest and fastest-growing segment of the breast biopsy device market over the next five years.

Changing markets
“The competitive landscape of the VAB device market has changed considerably since 2010,” notes Michelle Chan, an analyst at Millennium.”In 2010 Devicor Medical Productspurchased Ethicon Endo-Surgery‘s breast care business and therefore acquired the Mammotome brand, which is arguably the most well-recognized brand in VAB. C. R. Bardalso purchased SenoRx, giving it access to the EnCor VAB device.”

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The shift toward VAB has not occurred at the same rate worldwide. In the US, more than 50% of minimally invasive breast biopsies are performed using this technique, which has supported the large size of the US market. In China, however, less than one-quarter of procedures use VAB. Nonetheless, the shift toward VAB will be the fastest in China through 2017 due to its expanding economy and the ongoing shift away from open surgical biopsies. Japan is the only country where there is still a strong preference for less expensive FNA, causing it to be the smallest regional market.

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