A review of current practices in breast conservation surgery in the UK

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The aim of this study was to assess whether surgeons in the UK were practising wide excision consistent with current guidelines and current evidence.


Questionnaires were sent to 200 breast surgeons throughout the UK to determine current practices in breast conserving surgery


When performing a wide excision for invasive cancer, 61% of respondents always remove full thickness of breast tissue and 37% usually do. Of surgeons, 60% rarely use specimen X-ray for palpable lesions. However, 91% always take specimen X-rays in impalpable lesions, but 9% do not always take specimen X-rays for impalpable lesions. In 93% of units, the pathologist always reports the distance to the nearest margin. For both invasive and in situ cancer, there is a wide variation in what is considered an adequate radial margin. There is wide variation in the practice of re-excision. Of surgeons, 50% indicated that they wish wider margins in the presence of an extensive in situ component and 39% wish wider margins in younger women.


The results show a large variation in practice with many surgeons not treating patients in accordance with current guidelines and evidence.

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