Medical center is first in U.S. to use MarginProbe during lumpectomies.
Any breast cancer surgeon who regularly performs lumpectomies confronts the question “Did I get it all?” Thirty to 60 percent of the time in the U.S., the answer is “no,” requiring the patient to undergo a second surgery to remove the remaining tumor.
Surgeons at UC Irvine Medical Center are the first in the country to use a device that reduces by half the need to reoperate and cut out breast cancer cells missed during an initial lumpectomy. The MarginProbe System lets the surgeon immediately assess whether cancer cells remain on the margins of excised tissue. Currently, patients have to wait days for a pathologist to determine this.
“All of my patients know someone who has had to go back into surgery because their doctor didn’t get the entire tumor out,” said UC Irvine Health surgical oncologist Dr. Alice Police. “The ability to check tissue in the operating room is a game changer in surgery for early-stage breast cancer.”
The goal in a lumpectomy is to completely remove the cancer while preserving as much normal breast tissue as possible. If a pathologist finds cancer cells on the edges of the tissue taken out, surgeons must assume the lumpectomy didn’t get the entire tumor.
The Food and Drug Administration approved MarginProbe in December 2012, and UC Irvine Medical Center is the first hospital in the U.S. to employ the system, according to manufacturer Dune Medical Devices.