Because an increasing number of women do not wish to be anesthetized not knowing the specific diagnosis and not knowing if they will awaken with or without their breast, the traditional approach of biopsy under general anesthesia, frozen section and simultaneous mastectomy has been abandoned in most instances. One-hundred and fifty-three consecutive biopsies have been performed under local anesthesia. Nineteen patients proved to have a carcinoma, 23 patients had non-obligate precursors of carcinoma, five patients had a lymphoma and the remaining patients had benign disease. No significant complications occurred. Breast biopsies under local anesthesia avoid a good deal of psychologic trauma to the patient and allow the surgeon to plan therapy based on a precise histologic diagnosis. There are also substantial savings on both the direct and indirect cost of a breast biopsy under local anesthesia compared to a similar procedure under general anesthesia.
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