Dr. Radha IyengarBreast Surgery

Re-excision for positive margins

2 min read
Re-excision refers to removal of additional tissue after a patient has undergone a lumpectomy.  
A margin refers to the rim of normal tissue taken around a breast cancer. 
Re-excision is typically done because cancer cells have been found at the edge of the tissue that was initially removed and there is concern for residual disease left behind in the breast. 
Re-excision is common in breast cancer surgery because breast cancer’s are often bigger than what is seen on imaging reports prior to surgery. 
Re-excisions occur because surgeons have to balance complete excision of a breast cancer while maintaining a good cosmetic result.  When more tissue is removed a bigger defect is left behind.  
No studies to date have shown that removing a larger amount of normal breast tissue improves survival or reduces the chances of the cancer coming back. 
Re-excision rates have been reported as low as 5% and as high as 80%. 
There really is no “right” re-excision rate, but most breast surgeons rates are between 20 to 40%. 
Talk with your doctor if you have any questions or concerns about your surgery.