A survey of surgical management of the axilla in UK breast cancer patients

M S Gaston, J M Dixon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The aim of our study was to survey management of the axilla by specialist breast surgeons in the United Kingdom (UK). The questionnaire was returned by 371 surgeons, 366 (99%) were consultants and 96% treated more than 50 cases of breast cancer every year. 28% treated patients with invasive breast cancer by axillary clearance (AxCl) alone, 5% used sampling alone (AxNS), 40% used both AxCl and AxNS, 10% AxCl and sentinel lymph node (SLN) biopsy and 17% AxCl, AxNS and SLN biopsy. 9% cleared to level I, and sometimes to level II, 42% to level II and 49% to level III. 56% tried to preserve one or multiple intercostal nerves and 44% routinely divided the intercostalbrachial nerves. 52% performed SNB within trials alone and 36% out side of trials only. A range of techniques were described for the SLN biopsy procedure. There is no consistent practice of managing the axilla in the UK and standardisation is required. SLN biopsy is performed both within and outside of trials and a variety of techniques are used.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1738-42
Number of pages5
JournalEuropean journal of cancer (Oxford, England : 1990)
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2004


  • Axilla
  • Breast Neoplasms
  • Consultants
  • Female
  • Great Britain
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Lymph Node Excision
  • Lymphatic Metastasis
  • Medical Staff, Hospital
  • Professional Practice
  • Questionnaires
  • Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy


Dive into the research topics of 'A survey of surgical management of the axilla in UK breast cancer patients'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this