Are Upfront Levels for Colon “Polyps” Necessary? A Pragmatic Review

Armen Khararjian, Rifat Mannan, Kathleen Byrnes, Norman Barker, Lysandra Voltaggio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Introduction. Colon biopsies are among the most frequently examined specimens by pathologists. Many pathology practices, ours included, review upfront levels on all gastrointestinal biopsies. In our experience, when a lesion is present on specimens labeled “colon polyp,” it is readily identified on the first level. To test our hypothesis, we re-reviewed 500 cases in which a lesion was identified histologically and determined if the diagnosis could be made on the first level. Furthermore, we examined 50 additional cases of high-grade dysplasia/carcinoma to determine if the higher-grade component was also present on the first level. Materials and Methods. Cases were retrieved for lesions that could account for a colon polyp clinically, and the first level was examined to determine if lesional tissue was present on the first level. Fifty additional cases of higher-grade lesions were included to ensure higher-grade lesions were present on the first level. Results. Overall, 497/500 (99.4%) of the non–high-grade lesions were present on the first level, whereas 3/500 (0.6%) required the additional level for diagnosis. All 50 high-grade lesions were present on the first level examined. Discussion. Many pathology practices routinely order upfront levels on all gastrointestinal biopsies, often generating 2 or 3 slides. Additional slides increase costs, increase the likelihood of laboratory-generated errors, and can waste limited tissue on small biopsies for which ancillary studies may be necessary. Our study showed that a single level is sufficient in the overwhelming majority of cases in which a lesion is identified histologically.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalInternational Journal of Surgical Pathology
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - Jun 1 2018

Keywords

  • cost saving
  • GI pathology
  • initial levels
  • polyps
  • value

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Surgery
  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine

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