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Am Surg. 2011 Mar;77(3):342-4.

Intraoperative assessment of breast cancer specimens decreases cost and number of reoperations.

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  • 1University of Texas Southwestern-Austin, Austin, Texas 78701, USA.


It is the aim of our study to determine if the assessment of intraoperative breast cancer margins leads to decreased incidence of repeat operations and decreased cost. We collected data prospectively from two hospitals in Austin, TX, University Medical Center at Brackenridge (UMCB) and Seton Northwest Hospital (SNW), over a 2-year period. Comparison was made to see if intraoperative margin assessment affected total surgical costs and need for reoperation. One hundred and seven cases met criteria for inclusion in the study (UMCB = 45, SNW = 62). Intraoperative margin assessment was used in zero cases at SNW (0%) and in 17 at UMCB (38%). Intraoperative assessment was used in 16 per cent of total cases. Sixty per cent of cases at SNW required subsequent return to the operating room. Twenty-four per cent of cases at UMCB required subsequent reoperation (P < 0.05). The average number of surgical interventions required was 1 ± 0.3 with intraoperative assessment, 2 ± 0.6 without, (P < 0.05). Total surgical costs were $15,341 ± $4,328 with intraoperative assessment and $22,013 ± $13,821 without (P < 0.05). Use of intraoperative margin assessment for breast cancer operations leads to both a decrease in reoperations as well as a decrease in total operative costs.

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