Financial aspects of sentinel lymph node biopsy in early breast cancer

S. Severi, E. Gazzoni, A. Pellegrini, M. Sansovini, G. Raulli, C. Corbelli, M. Altini, G. Paganelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aim. At present, early breast cancer is treated with conservative surgery of the primary lesion (BCS) along with axillary staging by sentinel lymph node biopsy (SLNB). Although the scintigraphic method is standardized, its surgical application is different for patient compliance, work organization, costs, and diagnosis related group (DRG) reimbursements. Methods. We compared four surgical protocols presently used in our region: (A) traditional BCS with axillary lymph node dissection (ALND); (B) BCS with SLNB and concomitant ALND for positive sentinel nodes (SN); (C) BCS and SLNB under local anaesthesia with subsequent ALND under general anaesthesia according to the SN result; (D) SLNB under local anaesthesia with subsequent BCS under local anaesthesia for negative SN, or ALND under general anaesthesia for positive SN. For each protocol, patient compliance, use of consumables, resources and time spent by various dedicated professionals, were analyzed. Furthermore, a detailed breakdown of 1-/2-day hospitalization costs was calculated using specific DRGs. Results. We reported a mean costs variation that ranged from 1,634 to 2,221 Euros (protocols C and D). The number of procedures performed and the pathologists' results are the most significant variables affecting the rate of DRG reimbursements, that were the highest for protocol D and the lowest for protocol B. Conclusions. In our experience protocol C is the most suitable in terms of patient compliance, impact of surgical procedures, and work organization, and is granted by an appropriate DRG. We observed that a multidisciplinary approach enhances overall patient care and that a revaluation of DRG reimbursements is opportune.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)83-89
Number of pages7
JournalQuarterly Journal of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2012


  • Breast neoplasms
  • Diagnosis related group
  • Lymph node excision
  • Sentinel lymph node biopsy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


Dive into the research topics of 'Financial aspects of sentinel lymph node biopsy in early breast cancer'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this