Imaging, Biopsy Often Still Needed After Mastectomy

10 to 15.5 percent of women undergo subsequent imaging; 6 to 8 percent undergo biopsy

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 5, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- Subsequent imaging is required for 10 to 15.5 percent of women who undergo mastectomy, according to a study published in the December issue of the Annals of Surgical Oncology.

Soojin Ahn, M.D., from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City, and colleagues conducted a retrospective review of all unilateral mastectomy (UM) and bilateral mastectomy (BM) cases managed at a single institution between 2009 and 2015.

The researchers identified 185 UM and 200 BM cases managed for breast cancer. Patients were followed for a mean of 30 months. Of the 185 UM patients, 10, 6, and 1 percent underwent ipsilateral imaging for physical examination findings, underwent biopsy, and had malignant findings, respectively. Of the 200 BM patients, 15.5 percent required imaging; 76 percent of the ultrasounds were performed on the side with previous cancer. Eight percent of the BM patients subsequently had biopsy; 69 percent of these biopsies were performed on the ipsilateral side. Overall, 1.5 percent of the biopsies on the ipsilateral side were malignant, while the contralateral biopsies were all benign.

"Given the extent to which the avoidance of future imaging plays a role in decision making by a subset of women who opt for mastectomy, this information is critical for patient understanding and for establishing reasonable postoperative expectations regarding the potential need for future imaging, even with UM or BM," the authors write.

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