There is a potential for margin distortion associated with the use of a compression plate in specimen mammography (SM) devices.
Prospective observational study.
Two tertiary care teaching hospitals.
Breast biopsy tissue dimensions were recorded in 15 patients undergoing 18 operations before and after SM (group 1). After review of these data, we supervised the positioning of tissue for SM and obtained measurements for 12 breast biopsy specimens from 12 additional patients before and after SM (group 2).
Main Outcome Measures
Breast biopsy specimen dimensions recorded before and after SM, including length, width, and depth (the specimen depth along the axis of compression); data on age, menopausal status, hormone therapy, and the presence or absence of calcifications or tumor; and a national telephone survey on technique and understanding of SM at 21 institutions.
The specimen depth in group 1 was markedly decreased (P<.001) along the axis of compression. The mean length and width of the specimens were marginally increased by the effect of the SM device. Specimen depth in group 2 was unchanged when minimal pressure was used on the compression plate. Tissue was adequately immobilized in both groups, and all lesions were identified by SM. Our survey revealed that 71% of hospitals reported using firm compression in SM, and diverse techniques were employed.
This study demonstrates the potential for specimen margin distortion with compression SM. Undue specimen compression is common in routine SM. Surgeon oversight in the method of securing the specimen within the SM container will minimize or avoid the potential for margin distortion.