Preoperative Needle Biopsy as a Potential Quality Measure in Breast Cancer Surgery

  • B. Pocock
  • B. Taback
  • L. Klein
  • K. A. Joseph
  • M. El-Tamer
Healthcare Policy and Outcomes


Preoperative needle diagnosis (PND) is being considered as a quality measure in breast cancer surgery. This criterion has not been thoroughly evaluated in the literature. The purpose of this study is to assess ease of access to these data and rate of compliance in a tertiary care center. We retrospectively reviewed all our breast cancer cases between July 2006 and July 2007. The data were queried for preoperative needle diagnosis. Charts of patients who did not meet this criterion were reviewed to determine the cause for noncompliance. In the year 2006–2007, 396 breast cancer operations were performed (age range 19–96 years). Of 396 cases, 43 (11%) underwent a surgical procedure without diagnosis of cancer. In 19/396 (5%) cases PND was not feasible due to technical reasons. In 22/396 (5.5%) cases, preoperative needle biopsy did not render a malignant diagnosis: the pathology report was discordant with the radiological or clinical findings, or the needle biopsy result necessitated surgical resection. In only 2 of 396 cases (0.5%) was PND not attempted: an 80-year-old woman with a radiologically and clinically malignant mass, and a 43-year-old woman with a clinical and ultrasonographic suggestion of fibroadenoma. We conclude that data for preoperative needle diagnosis were easily accessible in our center. If this criterion is used as a quality measure in breast cancer surgery, 100% compliance may not be an achievable goal.


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Copyright information

© Society of Surgical Oncology 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • B. Pocock
    • 1
  • B. Taback
    • 1
  • L. Klein
    • 1
  • K. A. Joseph
    • 1
  • M. El-Tamer
    • 1
  1. 1.Comprehensive Breast Center, Department of SurgeryColumbia University Medical Center/Presbyterian HospitalNew YorkUSA

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