Article Abstract

Evaluation of discrepancies in weights of fresh and fixed specimens in breast surgery: a retrospective cohort study

Authors: Dinesh Thekkinkattil


Background: Handling of breast specimen is not well monitored and there is limited data on the impact of fixative solutions on specimen weights. Weight of resected breast tissue acts as a guide for future reconstructive and symmetrisation procedures. The aim is to quantitatively evaluate the discrepancies in weight of fresh breast specimen and the weight of specimen after being kept in a fixative solution for a variable length of time.
Methods: Single centre retrospective cohort study including patients undergone breast surgery for both diagnostic and therapeutic purposes between January of 2013 and June 2015. Demographic details were collected from case notes, pathology reports and operation room management information system (ORMIS).
Results: A total of 229 patients with a median age of 63 [interquartile range (IQR) 51–73] years were included. The median body mass index (BMI) was 27.9 (IQR 24.3–31.75) kg/m2. Median weight of the fresh specimens was 104 (IQR 44–535) g and that of fixed specimen was 99 (IQR 43–525) g (P value <0.05, Wilcoxon test). The variation was not unidirectional and factors which were important in influencing this variation were: inclusion of overlying skin and larger specimens (P value <0.05, Mann-Whitney U test). Age, BMI, duration of preservation in fixative solution and density of breast did not have significant influence.
Conclusions: Fixative solution does have significant influence on breast specimen weights. This is more pronounced with heavier specimens and those including overlying skin. It is advisable to measure the weight and volume of fresh breast specimen to aid future surgery with best aesthetic outcome.