Inappropriate Halsted mastectomy and patient volume in Italian hospitals

Am J Public Health. 1993 Dec;83(12):1762-4. doi: 10.2105/ajph.83.12.1762.


To study whether Halsted mastectomy was used only when properly indicated, a prospective survey was undertaken on the process of care of 985 breast cancer patients seen consecutively at 62 general hospitals in Northern and Central Italy. Overall, 79% of Halsted mastectomies were performed inappropriately. The procedure was less likely to be performed on more educated patients and, other factors considered, on those seen at hospitals with larger volume. We conclude that the measurement of utilization of a surgical procedure for which only a few appropriate indications exist may help identify important relationships between hospital characteristics and quality of surgical care.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology
  • Breast Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Educational Status
  • Female
  • Health Services Misuse / statistics & numerical data*
  • Health Services Research
  • Hospital Bed Capacity
  • Hospitals, General / standards*
  • Hospitals, General / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Italy
  • Mastectomy, Radical / statistics & numerical data*
  • Medical Audit
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians' / statistics & numerical data*
  • Prospective Studies