New device could revolutionize breast cancer surgery

February 19, 2013 3:01:14 PM PST
There's an experimental device that could revolutionize the way breast tumors are removed.

It's a first of its kind imaging tool that basically would allow surgeons to determine if they got all of the cancerous tissue while they are actually removing a breast tumor.

It could be invaluable because it's estimated at least one-third of patients who undergo lumpectomies have repeat surgeries because the whole tumor was not successfully removed the first time.

The portable handheld probe uses infrared light to crate high resolution images of cancer cells invading normal tissue. It would be able to tell if tiny bits of cancerous tissue were missed during the operation.

"Our system allows that surgeon to take a look at that margin in real-time and determine if more needs to be removed," U of I researcher Dr. Stephen Boppart said.

University of Illinois researchers helped create the device which is now being tested at Carle Hospital in Champaign, Illinois.

It could eliminate repeat surgeries and improve outcomes for breast cancer patients, according to researchers.

Several hospitals on the East Coast will also be testing the device.