Oral Presentation Joint Scientific Meeting of the Australian & NZ Head & Neck Cancer Society & NZ Association of Plastic Surgeons

Effect of introduction of surgeon-performed ultrasound to a head and neck surgical oncology clinic (1228)

Matthew M Kwok 1 , Wai Keong Choong 1 2 , Jagdeep Virk 1 , Matthew Magarey 1 3 , Samuel Flatman 1 2
  1. Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, South Melbourne, VIC, Australia
  2. St Vincent's Hospital, Melbourne, VIC, Australia
  3. Epworth Healthcare, Richmond, VIC, Australia

Purpose: Surgeon-performed ultrasound (SUS) for head and neck masses is increasingly performed by head and neck surgeons. This is the first Australian study assessing its impact in a head and neck surgical oncology clinic, examining the effect on various parameters.

Methodology: Retrospective analysis was conducted on a prospectively collected database, analysing and comparing all new patients reviewed six months prior to (pre-SUS group), and six months following (post-SUS group) the introduction of SUS to the outpatient head and neck surgical oncology clinic. Number of radiology imaging investigations, fine-needle aspirations (FNA) performed, clinical appointments, and time to definitive treatment decision were analysed and compared.

Results: 365 patients were included in this study: 169 in the pre-SUS group and 196 in the post-SUS group The groups were well-matched in demographics, sites of disease and diagnoses. There was a statistically significant difference between the pre-SUS and post-SUS groups in the number of total radiological imaging investigations performed (1.60 vs 0.70, p<0.00001), radiologist-performed FNAs (0.24 vs 0.10, p=0.0234), time for definitive treatment decision being made (16.4 days vs 11.6 days, p=0.04338), and number of clinical encounters (3.03 vs 2.29, p<0.00001). No statistically significant difference was observed in the number of head and neck surgical oncology clinic appointments between the 2 groups (1.70 vs 1.66, p=0.6672).

Conclusion: Surgeon-performed ultrasound decreases the number of radiological imaging tests performed, number of radiology FNA’s performed, time for definitive treatment decision being made, and number of clinical appointments overall. This supports its use in head and neck cancer clinics and has important implications for both patients and the healthcare system.