The treatment of radial scars in the modern era - Surgical excision is not required

Vance Y. Sohn, Marlin W. Causey, Scott R. Steele, Joren B. Keylock, Tommy A. Brown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


The clinical significance of isolated radial scars (RS) diagnosed on core needle biopsy (CNB) remains unclear. By determining the pathologic concordance rate, we sought to define the indications for surgical excision for RS diagnosed on CNB. Between January 1994 and December 2007, 38 RS were diagnosed by CNB. Twenty-eight underwent surgical excision with 27 (96%) patients having further benign diagnoses. One patient, who was found to have invasive cancer on CNB, was also found to have malignancy on open biopsy. Fourteen lesions were diagnosed by 8-gauge, 13 lesions by 11-gauge, and one lesion by 14-gauge biopsy needles. Seven studies met inclusion criteria for analysis; 341 lesions with follow-on surgical biopsy were identified. Sixteen (5%) radial scars were found to harbor malignancy and all were percutaneously biopsied with 14-gauge needles. With the inclusion of the current study, none of the isolated radial scars diagnosed by the larger 11- or 8-gauge biopsy needles resulted in upgraded lesions on follow-on surgical biopsy. Based on the current review, histologic radial scars are infrequently associated with occult malignancy and do not mandate surgical excision. Indications for excision include the mammographic diagnosis of RS and specimens associated with atypia that would otherwise require open biopsy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)522-525
Number of pages4
JournalAmerican Surgeon
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2010


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