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The Quarterly Journal of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging 2012 February:56(1):83-9


lingua: Inglese

Financial aspects of sentinel lymph node biopsy in early breast cancer

Severi S. 1, Gazzoni E. 2, Pellegrini A. 3, Sansovini M. 1, Raulli G. 4, Corbelli C. 5, Altini M. 6, Paganelli G. 1, 7

1 Department of Radiometabolic Medicine, Istituto Scientifico Romagnolo per lo Studio e la Cura dei Tumori (IRST), Meldola, Italy; 2 Department of Accounting and Finance, IRST, Meldola, Italy; 3 Department of Surgery, Infermi Hospital, Faenza, Italy; 4 Department of Pathology, Infermi Hospital, Faenza, Italy; 5 Department of Nuclear Medicine, Infermi Hospital Faenza, Italy; 6 Health Directorate, IRST, Meldola, Italy; 7 Division of Nuclear Medicine, Istituto Europeo di Oncologia (IEO), Milan, Italy


AIM: At present, early breast cancer is treated with conservative surgery of the primary lesion (BCS) along with axillary staging by sentinel lymph node biopsy (SLNB). Although the scintigraphic method is standardized, its surgical application is different for patient compliance, work organization, costs, and diagnosis related group (DRG) reimbursements.
METHODS:We compared four surgical protocols presently used in our region: (A) traditional BCS with axillary lymph node dissection (ALND); (B) BCS with SLNB and concomitant ALND for positive sentinel nodes (SN); (C) BCS and SLNB under local anaesthesia with subsequent ALND under general anaesthesia according to the SN result; (D) SLNB under local anaesthesia with subsequent BCS under local anaesthesia for negative SN, or ALND under general anaesthesia for positive SN. For each protocol, patient compliance, use of consumables, resources and time spent by various dedicated professionals, were analyzed. Furthermore, a detailed breakdown of 1-/2-day hospitalization costs was calculated using specific DRGs.
RESULTS: We reported a mean costs variation that ranged from 1,634 to 2,221 Euros (protocols C and D). The number of procedures performed and the pathologists’ results are the most significant variables affecting the rate of DRG reimbursements, that were the highest for protocol D and the lowest for protocol B.
CONCLUSIONS:In our experience protocol C is the most suitable in terms of patient compliance, impact of surgical procedures, and work organization, and is granted by an appropriate DRG. We observed that a multidisciplinary approach enhances overall patient care and that a revaluation of DRG reimbursements is opportune.

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