To the Editor.–If fine-needle aspiration is to make an economic impact on medical care, it must do so by eliminating surgery for benign lesions. This has been accomplished in the management of thyroid lesions, as documented in numerous studies.1-3
In the recent report from Seattle, Wash, published in the January 1988 issue of the Archives, this point was not made for breast fine-needle aspiration.4 In fact, there were errors in the calculations presented in Table 2 of that report. If one defines "positive" as any result requiring biopsy and "negative" as indicating conservative close follow-up only, then the calculations are as appear in the accompanying Table.
Despite these adjustments, the persistent flaw of the study lies in the five fine-needle aspiration negative results that were biopsy positive. Other studies have shown better results.5-7 One wonders whether increased proficiency with the technique of fine-needle aspiration could have
GOLDMAN H. Fine-Needle Aspiration for Breast Masses. Arch Surg. 1989;124(4):510. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1989.01410040120033