Design of a novel miniature breast biopsy needle for ductoscopy

Aimeé Sakes*, Kevin Snaar, Gerwin Smit, Arjen J. Witkamp, Paul Breedveld

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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Background. The majority of the benign and malignant lesions in the breast arise from the ductal epithelium and terminal ductlobular unit. A minimally invasive procedure called ductoscopy is able to visualize these lesions as it inspects the ductal epithelium using a small micro-endoscope. Unfortunately, it is currently challenging to obtain a tissue sample during ductoscopy and reach the most distal duct. Methods. In this study we have, therefore, developed a novel miniature (∅1.2 mm) biopsy needle that can be used during ductoscopy. This biopsy needle consists of two coaxial counter-rotating hollow blades with a distal cutout to resect lesions from the ductal wall. Three cutouts were manufactured resulting in a beveled, straight, and reverse-beveled blade. The blades were actuated using a novel mechanism containing two helical paths that allows for the counter-rotating motion of the blades at different velocities. In a proof-of-principle experiment, the performance of the biopsy needle was evaluated using a polymeric duct model and gelatin tissue phantom. Results. During the experiment, the straight and reverse-beveled blades were able to obtain a sufficiently large tissue sample for histopathological examination. Based on these promising results, a second experiment was performed in which the micro-endoscope was integrated in the needle and we were able to take a biopsy from a chicken breast. Conclusions. In a future clinical instrument, the biopsy needle will be miniaturized and optimized to allow for an efficient, safe, and effective intraductal biopsy procedure without the need for an invasive excisional biopsy procedure.

Original languageEnglish
Article number035020
Number of pages14
JournalBiomedical Physics and Engineering Express
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Bibliographical note

Green Open Access added to TU Delft Institutional Repository 'You share, we take care!' - Taverne project

Otherwise as indicated in the copyright section: the publisher is the copyright holder of this work and the author uses the Dutch legislation to make this work public.


  • biomedical equipment
  • biopsy needle
  • ductoscopy
  • medical device design


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