Background: In surgery for Dupuytren disease (DD), palmar fascia specimens are routinely submitted for pathological evaluation. The purpose of this study was to determine the rate of discordant diagnosis and the value of, and costs associated with, routine pathological analysis of palmar fascia tissue extracted in surgery for clinically diagnosed DD.
Methods: All pathology reports for in-house palmar fascia specimens obtained in surgery for clinically diagnosed DD (time period: January 2001 to December 2020) were retrieved from one academic institution. All specimens were classified by a hierarchical free-text string matching algorithm (HFTSMA) and searched for evidence of malignancy. The primary outcome was percentage of concordant, discrepant, and discordant diagnoses. Secondary outcomes included anatomical location and costs. The HFTSMA was used to capture the anatomical location. Costs included professional, laboratory processing, and ancillary fees based on the Ontario Schedule of Benefits.
Results: The search retrieved 1323 pathology reports, with 1480 palmar fascia specimens, from 1078 individual patients. By diagnosis, 96.1% of specimens (1422/1480) were concordant (fibromatosis), 3.9% (58/1480) were discrepant (scarring/fibrosis, benign fascia/connective tissue, or other benign findings), and 0% (0/1480) were discordant. The most common location was ring finger (n = 381, 48.7%). Ancillary testing was minimal. The cost per palmar fascia specimen was estimated to be CAD $34.57. The institutional costs were approximately CAD $2558.18/year.
Conclusions: Routine pathological examination of specimens in cases of clinically diagnosed DD does not yield additional clinically important findings and may not warrant their costs.
Keywords: Dupuytren contracture; hand; palmar fascia; pathology; value.