An experimental surgical device may cut down on the number of breast cancer surgeries patients need, and it will help save more breast tissue. Women with early stage breast cancer often have a surgery to remove just the lump. Then wait a week or so for pathology reports to show whether surgeons were able to get all of the cancerous tissue.
A new device, called "margin probe" can detect additional cancer cells during the first procedure. It helps many women who undergo lumpectomies avoid going under the knife a second time.
Dr. Susan Boolbol said, "We know approximately 20% to 40% of the time, they will have to go back to the operating room an addition time to take out more tissue. This device will decrease that number of patients. For me, as a surgeon, it's practice changing. For my patients, it has an enormous benefit."
The device has not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration, and is not yet available nationwide. Researchers at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York are expected to present the new device to an upcoming National Breast Cancer Symposium.
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