Dartmouth doctors, engineers find breast cancer surgery breakthrough
"Conceptually it is similar to a car's GPS," the Norris Cotton Cancer Center said in a news release. "The uploaded maps would be the MRI, and the optical scan provides the 'you are here' arrow for the surgeon. This more accurate picture of the tumor location and its edges allows for a more precise surgical excision."
"We have developed a technique that gives the surgeon, at the time of surgery, a 3-D picture of where the cancer is in the breast using MRI," said Dr. Richard J. Barth Jr., section chief of general surgery at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. "This is the first time that optical scanning and MRI have been combined to localize breast cancer."The current way these small tumors are located before surgery is through a separate procedure, which can be uncomfortable for the patient and is not very accurate, according to the news release. About 30 to 40 percent of the time cancer cells are left behind, the news release states, leading to additional surgery to remove the remaining cancer. In this pre-surgery procedure, a wire is inserted into the breast before surgery to mark these small tumors. Barth, an associate professor of surgery at Dartmouth's Geisel School of Medicine, said the new method of locating breast tumors uses a pre-operative MRI as a map of the tumor and an optical scan to identify the tumor's size, shape and location.
Up next, Barth plans to initiate a randomized prospective study of patients with non-palpable breast cancer to test how the new method compares to the old wire localization method.
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