Breast Surgery Techniques: Preoperative Bracketing Wire Localization by Surgeons

Burkholder, Hans C.; Witherspoon, Laura E.; Burns, R. Phillip; Horn, Jeffrey S.; Biderman, Michael D.
June 2007
American Surgeon;Jun2007, Vol. 73 Issue 6, p574
Academic Journal
With the development of expertise in image guidance for breast surgery, many surgeons now perform preoperative wire localization themselves. Use of a single wire versus multiple wires to bracket a radiographic breast abnormality has previously been described, although benefits of this technique based on clinical outcomes such as margin status, tissue volume removed, and re-excision rates have not been established. This study is a retrospective analysis of wire-localized breast biopsies performed by 14 surgeons over 29 months; stereotactic and ultrasound guidance were used. During this time, 489 wire localizations were done, of which 159 used multiple wires. Two hundred eleven of these biopsies were done for malignant disease, 86 using multiple wires. After controlling for tumor node metastases stage, single and multiple wire placements were compared using endpoints of margin status, need for re-excision, and total volume of tissue removed. Neither margin status nor re-excision was related to the number of wires placed. However, the number of wires placed was significantly related to the total volume of tissue removed. Use of more than one localizing wire was associated with greater volume of tissue removal (measured in centimeters cubed) in benign disease (46 vs 25, P < 0.001), equivalent volumes in stage 0 disease (73 vs 67), less volume in stage 1 disease (113 vs 164), and less volume in stages 2 through 4 (158 vs 207, P = 0.03). Outcomes based on surgeon case volume during the study period demonstrated that low- (1-40), medium- (41-80), and high-volume (>80) surgeons did not differ in the type or stage of breast pathology treated. Surgeons with high case volumes were more likely to place multiple localizing wires (P < 0.001) and were more likely to do a breast-conserving procedure if re-excision was performed (P < 0.018). Surgeons with low case volumes were more likely to perform a re-excision (P < 0.025). Surgeon experience has a positive impact on quality outcome measures such as performance of a definitive procedure at the time of initial surgery and use of breast-conserving procedures at the time of re-excision. Multiple wire localization can be used to significantly reduce the volume of breast tissue removed in malignant disease without sacrificing margin status or increasing the need for future re-excision.


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