[Histonet] More on Frozen Section Breast Biopsies
Yes, frozen section followed by immediate mastectomy was the standard of
care up through at least the early 80's. It worked well on the fairly
large, definite masses that were the standard. It also ensured that
fresh tissue was available for ER/PR studies, that in those days were
actually biochemical assays, not IHC stains. I wrote a paper back then
(Raff LJ: Frozen Section Needle Biopsies of the Breast, A Technique of
Limited Usefulness. Breast. 8:11-13, 1982) questioning the usefulness of
frozen sections on core biopsies.
The reasons frozen section of the breast have fallen out of favor are:
1. The popularity of needle biopsies and aspirates in diagnosis of
2. The fact that many early, mammographicaly detected, breast
lesions lack a definite mass and would be difficult to freeze.
3. Freezing can obscure detail needed for the diagnosis of some
4. The desirability of allowing the patient to receive the results
of their biopsy and have input into the therapeutic decisions.
Hope this helps. Say hello to your pathologists for me.
Lester J. Raff, MD
UroPartners, LLC Laboratory
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