October 23, 1987


JAMA. 1987;258(16):2289-2291. doi:10.1001/jama.1987.03400160143045

Advances, as with beauty, are in the eyes of the beholder. When is a scientific advance truly an advance? Is it when a new technique is discovered? It is yet to be tested. Is it when the results of animal experiments become exciting? They may not apply to man. Is it after the first few clinical trials? They may not last. Is it when we have clinically established something as being useful for patients? Yes, that seems to be an advance. But only time will determine whether it is a permanent advance or a temporary interest.

Two new techniques to locate disease during abdominal operations have been thoroughly evaluated and can be recommended for consideration by all surgeons. Special ultrasound transducers have been used effectively to delineate liver pathology during surgical exploration and thereby determine the best course of therapy.1,2 For example, the depth of a tumor can be