Background: Most women diagnosed with breast cancer undergo breast-conservation surgery. Re-excision rates for positive margins have been reported to be greater than 50%. The purpose of our study was to determine if removing additional shaved margins from the lumpectomy cavity at the time of lumpectomy reduces re-excisions.
Methods: A retrospective study was performed on 125 women who had undergone lumpectomy with additional shaved margins taken from the lumpectomy cavity. Pathology reports were reviewed for tumor size and histology, lumpectomy and additional margin status, and specimen and margin volume.
Results: If additional margins were not taken, 66% would have required re-excision. Because of taking additional shaved margins, re-excision was eliminated in 48%.
Conclusion: Excising additional shaved margins at the original surgery reduced reoperations by 48%. There is a balance between removing additional margins and desirable cosmesis after breast-conservation surgery. The decision to take extra margins should be based on the surgeon's judgment.