The Importance of Negative Margins

A lumpectomy is a challenging surgical procedure, complicated by two obvious yet conflicting priorities: excise as much tissue as necessary to remove the cancer from the breast, remove as little tissue as possible to achieve the best cosmetic result.


Clinically stated, the objective is a clean, negative margin, with all six surfaces of an excised tumor cancer-free.

However, determining if the margins are clean requires the work of a pathologist reviewing tissue long past the conclusion of the surgical procedure. Intraoperative margin assessment consists primarily of visual inspection, palpation, and specimen imaging techniques which surgeons agree are less than reliable.

The MarginProbe System is designed to give today’s surgeons a significant new advantage in margin assessment. In a procedure of roughly five minutes, MarginProbe provides real time, detailed information to help a surgeon decide whether additional tissue should be taken, or whether to complete the lumpectomy procedure, and close the incision. Surgeons can perform the intraoperative assessments themselves, using the advanced technologies of the MarginProbe System. It’s a novel tool that gives surgeons an excellent chance of making a correct margin assessment before the tissue is examined by a pathologist.

Yet, the MarginProbe advantage is more than simply a clinical innovation.

As a surgeon, how good would it feel to sit down with your patient at her surgery follow-up visit, and tell her the eight best words she could hear: “The surgery was successful. We’ve removed the cancer.”  Even though re-excisions have become a frequent part of breast cancer treatment, and patients know the risks, wouldn’t you rather be able to tell more patients, more often, that surgery was successful and that the pathologist’s report confirmed clear margins?

As a patient grappling with all the frightening aspects of breast cancer, how welcome is the news from the pathologist that the margins on your tumor were negative. Now you know that the worst is behind you, that the cancer has been removed . . . and that you can move on to the next steps of your treatment.

We’re interested in hearing from you

More and more breast surgeons are interested in the details of the MarginProbe System for intraoperative margin assessment.  If you’d like to know more about the technology and the science behind it, contact us.  We’ll be happy to provide more information or have one of our sales representatives contact you directly to schedule a product presentation.


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