Relocating the site of frozen sections--is there room for improvement?

Head Neck. 2001 Mar;23(3):230-2. doi: 10.1002/1097-0347(200103)23:3<230::aid-hed1023>;2-v.


Introduction: In an attempt to improve the marginal control of oropharyngeal carcinoma, some surgeons routinely perform frozen section analysis. Because current methods of relocating the site from which frozen section specimens are harvested can be haphazard, we studied the accuracy of a common technique used to localize specimens to the resected tumour bed.

Methods: One surgeon was asked to identify the sites of proposed sampling in 14 consecutive cases. After approximately 5 minutes, the same surgeon was asked to relocate each site.

Results: In all, 71 soft tissue points were identified. The mean error in relocating the sample site was 9 mm for those placed at mucosal margins and 12 mm for those placed deep to the tumor bed. The error exceeded 1 cm in 32% (23 of 71) of cases.

Conclusion: These findings highlight the need to accurately locate the position of frozen sections if samples that subsequently prove positive are to used to greatest effect.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Biopsy, Needle
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / pathology*
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / surgery*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Frozen Sections / methods*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mouth Mucosa / pathology
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness
  • Oropharyngeal Neoplasms
  • Sampling Studies
  • Sensitivity and Specificity