For breast surgeons, there are critical questions with every lumpectomy performed: Did I remove the right amount of tissue? Are the margins clean? Will I be able to tell my patient we’ve removed all of the cancer? At Memorial Hermann Katy Hospital, these questions just got easier to answer thanks to the deployment of the MarginProbe® System, a new FDA-approved intraoperative tissue-assessment tool for breast cancer surgery.
During a lumpectomy, the cancerous breast tumor and a small amount of tissue surrounding the tumor are removed. The purpose of removing normal tissue surrounding the tumor is to ensure “clear margins” so that no cancer cells remain.
Prior to the development of MarginProbe, surgeons would have to send off the excised tissue to a pathology lab to see if any cancer cells remained along the edges. This could take a week or more. Now, using MarginProbe, breast surgeons like Liz Lee, MD at Memorial Hermann Katy can test the margins in real time.
How? Research has shown that cancer cells have a distinctive electromagnetic signature, which is different from that of healthy cells. The MarginProbe gathers this electromagnetic signature and significantly improves surgeons’ ability to identify “cancer on the margins” at the time of breast cancer surgery.
If the margins are not clear, the surgeon can take more tissue while the patient is still sedated, potentially reducing the need for a patient to undergo additional lumpectomies. Ultimately, the pathology lab still clears the final tissue.
“This is a real advancement in breast cancer treatment,” said Dr. Lee. “MarginProbe acts as an additional adjunct to help us determine if we have removed all the cancerous cells. The technology gives me and my patients peace of mind knowing we are utilizing all the tools available to us to reach the best outcome possible – elimination of the cancer.”
Memorial Hermann Katy is the first and only Hospital in the greater Houston area with MarginProbe. For more information on Memorial Hermann Katy, call 281-644-7000 or visit our website.