Feasibility of surgeon performing ultrasound in symptomatic breast clinics: the Brighton experience
© BioMed Central 2006
Published: 10 July 2006
Breast ultrasound (US) is becoming increasingly used by surgeons in symptomatic breast clinics as an extended tool for diagnosis and as an adjunct to interventional procedures.
To assess the feasibility of surgeons performing breast US in symptomatic breast clinics either as an adjunct to triple assessment or on their own for diagnostic and therapeutic purposes.
We analysed the results of one surgeon performing diagnostic and interventional US procedures after appropriate training as recommended by the Royal College of Radiologists and the support of a local radiologist between January 2004 and April 2005. One hundred and fifty-six patients underwent an US scan either on its own or as part of the triple assessment.
72 patients (46%) had US only without needle procedure (as not deemed necessary on clinical grounds on first visit)
69 patients (96%) had normal findings and three patients (4%) had indeterminate or suspicious results subsequently downgraded by the radiologist
50 patients (32%) had US with fine needle procedure
49 patients (98%) had benign lesions (60% cysts, 40% solid) and one patient (2%) had a suspicious lesion, downgraded
21 patients (13%) had US with wider needle procedure
14 patients (67%) had malignant lesions, three patients (14%) had indeterminate lesions and four patients (19%) had benign lesions
Nine patients (6%) had US to assess response to endocrine treatment
In addition to clinical assessment
Four patients (3%) had US not double reported by the radiologist
Two patients had normal scans, one patient had fibroadenoma removed surgically and another had gynaecomastia
Of the three patients (2%) who had a recall by the radiologists, no cancer was missed. With appropriate training and support by the radiologist, and auditing one's performance, surgeons can safely perform US scans in the breast clinic.