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Accuracy of frozen section in the diagnosis of liver mass lesions
  1. E Rakha,
  2. S Ramaiah,
  3. A McGregor
  1. Department of Histopathology, Leicester Royal Infirmary, University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, Leicester, UK
  1. Correspondence to:
    Dr Emad Rakha
    Department of Histopathology, Sandringham Building, Leicester Royal Infirmary, University Hospitals of Leicester, Leicester LE1 5WW, UK; emadrakha{at}; mrxeaaer{at}


Objective: To evaluate the diagnostic accuracy of intraoperative frozen sections diagnosis of liver lesions thought to be malignant tumours.

Methods: 285 frozen sections of liver from 173 patients were reviewed. The examinations were done between 1998 and 2004.

Results: Final histological diagnosis was divided into positive (32%) and negative (68%) for malignancy. In four cases (2%), diagnosis was deferred to paraffin section. There was one false positive and two false negative diagnoses. Sensitivity was 96.9% and specificity was 99.1%, and the overall accuracy to determine the lesions was 95%. The cases were further analysed to ascertain the nature of diagnostic difficulties, which comprised pathological misinterpretation, sampling error, and technical imperfections. Biliary hamartoma was the most common entity that was confused with malignant tumours in frozen sections.

Conclusions: The data are in accordance with those of similar studies in other sites, and confirm that the frozen section is an accurate and reliable method for intraoperative diagnosis of suspected liver lesions.

  • frozen section
  • liver
  • diagnostic accuracy

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