Why should breast surgeons use ultrasound?
Ahmed M., Abdullah N., Cawthorn S., Usiskin SI., Douek M.
Portable ultrasound is now used in a variety of clinical settings by specialties outside of radiology. Despite increased accessibility to ultrasound, the overall performance of ultrasound by breast surgeons is consistently low. We discuss the reasons why this is unacceptable for future patient care and answer the question, 'Why should breast surgeons use ultrasound?' We reviewed the literature for evidence assessing the outcomes of breast surgeon-performed ultrasound both intra-operatively and in the outpatient department. Intra-operative ultrasound performed by surgeons reduces re-excision rates in breast-conserving surgery. Outpatient-based ultrasound performed by surgeons frees up the resources of radiology departments, allowing them to focus upon patients requiring more complex diagnostic and interventional procedures. For surgeons to competently perform intra-operative and outpatient-based ultrasound, a period of formal ultrasound training is necessary to acquire knowledge of ultrasound skills and techniques. This should be followed by a period of mentorship and supervised training with an experienced breast radiologist. Breast surgeon-performed ultrasound is beneficial to the multi-disciplinary care of breast cancer patients. To further improve multidisciplinary care, breast surgeons and radiologists should work more collaboratively to optimise imaging applications both in the operating theatre and outpatient department. Current advances in therapeutic percutaneous techniques are of interest to both surgeons and radiologists. In future, a hybrid specialisation should be considered to incorporate accreditation in both specialties for breast interventional procedures.