Surgeon Explains How MarginProbe® Protects Cosmetic Outcomes While Preventing Re-excision in Breast Conserving Surgery

Image courtesy of Boca Raton Regional Hospital

Dr. Kerry-Ann McDonald, a breast surgeon at Boca Raton Regional Hospital in Boca Raton, Florida, credits her interest in medicine to her early days as a hospital volunteer. After entering the medical field and beginning residency, her path to becoming a surgeon was clear. “I always knew I wanted to be a surgeon because of the satisfaction that comes with helping others, and the immediate gratification of seeing the problem go away,” the surgeon explained. “I specifically chose breast cancer surgery because it’s a field where there’s strong continuity of care. After removing the cancer, I’m following these patients for a minimum of five years, so I really get to know them. It’s really rewarding to see patients through their entire experience.”

The center in Boca Raton Regional Hospital, where Dr. McDonald practices, takes a multidisciplinary approach to care, in which each cancer patient has an individualized care plan that includes treatment recommendations from not only the surgeon, but also a genetics counselor, medical and radiation oncologists, and social workers. As a surgical oncologist, Dr. McDonald performs both lumpectomies and mastectomies, and in the case of mastectomies, she tries to perform nipple-sparing surgeries when possible.

With such a focus on providing comprehensive, personalized care, it’s no surprise that Dr. McDonald focuses on leading-edge technologies to ensure that she is providing the best oncologic and cosmetic outcomes for her patients. This is why she now includes the use of MarginProbe®, a tool to ensure that a safe margin of tissue is removed around a cancerous tumor, as part of her surgical practice. Dr. McDonald has utilized the tool on close to 100 patients to date.

MarginProbe® Reduces the Need for Additional Surgeries

“I use MarginProbe on almost every lumpectomy,” the physician stated. “My goal in using MarginProbe is to reduce the number of re-excisions I need to perform. That’s why I use it, as taking a patient back for a second surgery can have a negative impact on cosmetic outcomes and patient satisfaction. The results with MarginProbe have been good so far. If you have an additional tool that can find a positive margin and you can use it right there in the operating room, then that’s much better than having to go back to the operating room for second surgeries which we know can negatively impact cosmetic results. I think MarginProbe definitely helps in this regard.”

MarginProbe is used as an adjunct to Standard of Care, which means it is used in conjunction with the protocol a surgeon already uses. “I tell my patients that I am going to do three things in the operating room,” the surgeon added. “I’m going to take an intraoperative x-ray of the specimen, I’m going to have the pathologist look at it and I’m going to scan it with MarginProbe. I do this to prevent re-excisions and reduce the stress on the patient and family that can come from that second procedure.”

Dr. McDonald had a specific case in mind that she highlighted to demonstrate the effectiveness of MarginProbe in action. “I had a patient with Ductal Carcinoma In-Situ who underwent a lumpectomy,” the physician explained. “The pathologist is unable to provide a margin assessment on DCIS, but the MarginProbe told me that the medial margin was positive. In fact, there were three positive margins that were identified by the device. While the MarginProbe can be very sensitive in cases involving dense breast tissue, the final pathology proved that in this example MarginProbe was right.

“I am always open to new technologies in breast cancer treatment, as long as they benefit the patient,” Dr. McDonald concluded. 

Kerry-Ann McDonald, M.D.

Dr. Kerry-Ann McDonald treats patients with breast cancer, including ductal carcinoma in-situ, and all benign breast conditions. She performs mastectomies, with special interest in nipple sparing surgery, breast-conserving surgical therapies, and sentinel lymph node surgery with tailored treatment of the axilla.

Dr. McDonald has authored and co-authored articles in peer-reviewed publications such as Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, Journal of Vascular Surgery and Annals of Surgical Oncology.

Education

  • Graduate School: University of Rochester: Rochester, NY – 2009
  • Internship: University of Pittsburgh: Pittsburgh, PA – 2009 to 2010
  • Residency: University of Pittsburgh: Pittsburgh, PA – 2010 to 2017
  • Fellowship: Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center: Buffalo, NY – 2017 to 2018

Boca Raton Regional Hospital

Boca Raton Regional Hospital is part of Baptist Health South Florida, the largest healthcare organization in the region, with 11 hospitals, nearly 23,000 employees, more than 4,000 physicians and more than 100 outpatient centers, urgent care facilities and physician practices spanning across Miami-Dade, Monroe, Broward and Palm Beach counties. Baptist Health has internationally renowned centers of excellence in cancer, cardiovascular care, orthopedics and sports medicine, and neurosciences. In addition, it includes Baptist Health Medical Group; Baptist Health Quality Network; and Baptist Health Care On Demand, a virtual health platform. A not-for-profit organization supported by philanthropy and committed to our faith-based charitable mission of medical excellence, Baptist Health has been recognized by Fortune as one of the 100 Best Companies to Work For in America and by Ethisphere as one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies. 

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Dune Medical.