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November 1991

Breast Biopsy Techniques and Adequacy of Margins

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Surgery (Drs Ngai, Zelles, and Godfrey) and Pathology (Drs Rumore and Sawicki), Kaiser Permanente Medical Center, Oakland, Calif.

Arch Surg. 1991;126(11):1343-1347. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1991.01410350033005

• The change toward breast-conserving surgery for cancer has altered the role of the initial biopsy. We retrospectively analyzed two methods, traditional excisional biopsy (n=47) and lumpectomy (n=44) to evaluate their usefulness as the initial procedure for breast-conserving surgery. Lumpectomy required more time (mean±SEM, 53±3 minutes) than traditional biopsy (37±2 minutes). Margins were verified by microscopic examination to be clear in 73% of the patients in the lumpectomy group and in only 17% of patients in the traditional biopsy group. Patients in the lumpectomy group subsequently underwent more axillary dissections than patients in the traditional biopsy group (31% vs 4%, respectively) and fewer modified radical mastectomies (49% vs 71%, respectively). A correlation between extensive intraductal components and positive margins was found in the lumpectomy group. These data suggest that as the initial biopsy method, lumpectomy more often provides adequate margins and may decrease the number of subsequent procedures on the breast for breast-conserving surgery.

(Arch Surg. 1991;126:1343-1347)

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