Unnecessary Tests and Procedures in Patients Presenting with Solid Tumors of the Pancreas

Michol Cooper, Naeem A. Newman, Andrew M. Ibrahim, Edwin Lam, Joseph M. Herman, Vikesh K. Singh, Christopher L. Wolfgang, Timothy M. Pawlik, John L. Cameron, Martin A. Makary

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: A computed tomography (CT) scan is often the only study needed prior to surgery for resectable solid pancreas masses. However, many patients are evaluated with multiple studies and interventions that may be unnecessary. Methods: We conducted a retrospective review of patients who presented to the Johns Hopkins Multidisciplinary Pancreas Cancer Clinic with a clearly resectable solid pancreas mass, >1 cm in size over a 2-year period (6/2007-6/2009) and underwent resection. Pancreas specialists reviewed patient records and identified an index CT with a solid pancreas mass deemed to be resectable for curative intent. Data were collected on all studies and interventions between the index CT and the surgery. Results: A total of 101 patients had an index CT. Following the index CT and before surgery, 78 patients had at least one CT, 19 had magnetic resonance imaging, 9 had a positron emission tomography scan, and 66 underwent pancreatic biopsy. Patients underwent a mean of three studies with a mean added cost of $3,371 per patient. Preoperative tests and interventions were associated with a longer time to definitive surgical intervention. Conclusion: Wide variation exists for evaluation of newly discovered resectable solid pancreas masses, which is associated with delays to surgical intervention and added costs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1218-1223
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Gastrointestinal Surgery
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2013


  • Cost
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Test
  • Unnecessary
  • Variation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Gastroenterology

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