Geographic variation in sentinel node adaptation by practicing surgeons in Oregon

Jennifer R. Garreau, Joanne Nelson, David Cook, John Vetto, Deb Walts, Louis Homer, Nathalie Johnson, Ravi Moonka

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    16 Scopus citations


    Background: The sentinel node biopsy (SNB) technique is an important tool in the diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer and melanoma. However, surgeons in Oregon have not universally adopted its use. Methods: Mailed questionnaire. Results: The response rate was 32%. Seventy-four (76%) of the surgical respondents perform routine SNB; 49% completed courses, and 32% learned the technique in residency. Sixty-one (89%) performed axillary dissection with their initial cases. It took 21 of 40 (52%) surgeons greater than a year to accrue 20 cases. Of 23 surgeons (24%) not performing SNB, 89% believed it was an important skill to obtain, and 70% thought they would benefit from proctoring opportunities. Six (26%) did not have technological support at their hospital. Surgeons at hospitals with less than 50 beds (P = .001) and at rural hospitals (P = .003) were less likely to perform SNB. Conclusion: The majority of urban general surgeons in Oregon use SNB in their practice. However, the incorporation of SNB for surgeons practicing in smaller hospitals and rural settings is less frequent than in the urban environment. As SNB becomes the standard of care, we need to overcome these barriers so that patients can have access to this procedure in their own communities.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)616-620
    Number of pages5
    JournalAmerican journal of surgery
    Issue number5 SPEC. ISS.
    StatePublished - May 2005


    • Axillary node dissection
    • Breast cancer
    • Learning curve
    • Sentinel node biopsy

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Surgery

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  • Cite this

    Garreau, J. R., Nelson, J., Cook, D., Vetto, J., Walts, D., Homer, L., Johnson, N., & Moonka, R. (2005). Geographic variation in sentinel node adaptation by practicing surgeons in Oregon. American journal of surgery, 189(5 SPEC. ISS.), 616-620.