Point of View
August 1998

"Molecular Margins"A Better Measure?

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Otolaryngology, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY.


Copyright 1998 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved. Applicable FARS/DFARS Restrictions Apply to Government Use.1998

Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1998;124(8):841-842. doi:10.1001/archotol.124.8.841

Since the introduction of the cold-chamber cryostat, the technique of frozen section analysis has changed little during the past 30 years.1 Frozen section analysis continues as a mainstay component of surgical resection, though it leads to an inherent tissue "tug-of-war" between the desire to preserve function and the intention to achieve adequate oncological clearance. The technique is not without limitations. Retraction of skeletal muscle around a carcinoma adds vagary to the goal of securing a particular margin distance (eg, ≥5 mm). Sampling errors may cause false-negative results. Rarely, overinterpretation of radiation-induced changes or dysplasia extending into salivary ducts may result in false-positive readings. Finally, complete resection may not be possible for some tumors, despite intraoperative tissue sampling. Still, the technique of frozen sections remains a useful tool.

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