Context. - Intraoperative pathology consultation is an important tool for many surgical procedures and is deemed appropriate when the pathology result immediately alters surgical management. Objective. - To evaluate the utility of intraoperative gross examinations of colorectal resections and to better understand the associated costs. Design. - The pathology database of our institution was searched for colorectal resections for primary disease, and those cases were separated into 3 categories: frozen section performed, intraoperative gross examination performed, and no intraoperative consultation. We reviewed 270 cases during a 15-month period. Results. - Of the 270 cases, 200 (74.1%) had an intraoperative gross examination. In 34 of the 200 cases (17%), additional specimens were taken and, therefore, required operative note review to ascertain whether the additional specimens taken were based on the findings from the intraoperative gross examination. After reviewing the operative notes for those 34 cases, none (0%) were a result of the gross findings reported. The average associated time for intraoperative gross examinations was 27.67 minutes (including transport). The billable costs exceeded $7000 during the study period, and the cost of the pathology assistant's time per case was $22.10. Conclusions. - Our study demonstrates that no change in surgical management was a result of gross examination of colorectal resection specimens and that the associated costs were significant. Decreasing unnecessary consultations will directly save the health care system money by eliminating billable services and will also increase the efficiency of the pathology department by reducing the opportunity costs for the time of the pathologist and the pathology staff.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine
- Medical Laboratory Technology