n South African Journal of Surgery - Sentinel lymph node biopsy : an audit of intraoperative assessment after introduction of a cytotechnology service : general surgery

Volume 53, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0038-2361
  • E-ISSN: 2078-5151



To audit results from intraoperative assessment of sentinel lymph node biopsy (SLNB) after the introduction of a cytotechnologist.

Since 2010, a cytotechnologist has been involved in the intraoperative assessment of SLNB in our breast cancer patients. The data from patients over the period 2006 - 2013 were used to compare outcomes before and after the introduction of a cytotechnology service. The database was divided into the periods 2006 - 2008 and 2010 - 2013 (2009 was the training period).
A total of 335 intraoperative SLNB assessments were performed: 165 between 2006 and 2008 (group 1) and 170 between 2010 and2013 (group 2). In the study period (2010 - 2013), 2 (1%) metastatic deposits >2 mm were missed in patients with lobular carcinoma and 1 in a patient with ductal carcinoma. There was one (0.6%) false positive in a patient with a lobular carcinoma in each group. For patients with metastases >2 mm, group 1 had a sensitivity of 87% and a specificity of 99%. Group 2 had a sensitivity of 92% and a specificity of 99%.
A trained cytotechnologist performing imprint cytology on SLNB to determine metastatic breast cancer can deliver results comparable with those of a group of pathologists.

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