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 ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2019  |  Volume : 56  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 19-23

Frozen section is not cost beneficial for the assessment of margins in oral cancer


1 Department of Head and Neck Surgery, Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
2 Department of Pathology, Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
3 Department of Medical Administration, Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
4 Department of Radiation Oncology, Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

Correspondence Address:
Pankaj Chaturvedi
Department of Head and Neck Surgery, Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai, Maharashtra
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/ijc.IJC_41_18

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BACKGROUND: Routine use of frozen section (FS) is a costly procedure and sparsely available in resource poor countries. A proper cost benefit analysis may help to reduce its routine use and would empower surgeons to perform oral cancer surgeries without having FS facility. FS is performed to identify microscopic spread beyond gross disease that cannot be assessed clinically. OBJECTIVE: Our primary aim was to determine the cost benefit analysis of FS in the assessment of margins in oral cavity squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC). MATERIALS AND METHODS: Retrospective study of prospectively collected data of 1311 consecutive patients who were operated between January 2012 and October 2013. The gross and microscopic margin status of each patient was extracted from the patient's chart. The cost estimates were performed to calculate the financial burden of FS as well as expenses incurred on adjuvant treatment resulting from inadequate margins. RESULT: Microscopic spread changed the gross margin status in 5.2% (65/1237) patients. Of this entire cohort of 1237 patients, FS helped 29 (2.3%) patients to achieve tumor free margin, and it changed the adjuvant treatment plan in 9 (0.7%) patients. The cost of FS for each patient was INR 11052. The cost-benefit ratio of FS was 12:1. Gross examination alone could have identified majority of the inadequate margins. CONCLUSION: Frozen section for assessment of margin status bears poor cost-benefit ratio. Meticulous gross examination of the entire surgical specimen is sufficient to identify majority of inadequate margins.






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