• Nine hundred ninety-seven breast biopsies that were performed at one hospital over the five-year period from 1971 through 1975 were reviewed because of a changing pattern in the use of breast biopsies on outpatients who were under local anesthesia. In 1971, 17% of all breast biopsies were performed as outpatient procedures; by 1975, the figure was 60%. In 1971, 5% of all malignant neoplasms were diagnosed by the use of biopsies as outpatient procedures and 30% in 1975. Hospital charges for biopsy on an inpatient basis of benign breast disease were 7.2 times higher than for biopsy on an outpatient basis. Interviews of 102 patients clearly suggested that most patients were satisfied with the outpatient breast biopsy experience. Outpatient breast biopsy under local anesthesia is a safe procedure that is more economical in terms of medical cost, surgeons' time, and patients' time away from home and/or job. Preliminary biopsy of malignant lesions using local anesthesia permits more efficient use of diagnostic procedures to stage the extent of disease prior to treatment. Patient acceptance of breast biopsy as an outpatient procedure under local anesthesia was similar to their acceptance of biopsy on an inpatient basis under general anesthesia.
(Arch Surg 113:942-946, 1978)