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Baumeister, Philipp; Baumüller, Konstantin; Harreus, Ulrich; Reiter, Maximilian; Welz, Christian (2018): Evaluation of margins in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma from the surgeon's perspective. In: Head and Neck-Journal for the Sciences and Specialties of the Head and Neck, Vol. 40, No. 5: pp. 963-972
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Abstract

Background: The surgeon's evaluation of resection status based on frozen section analysis during operation and pathological examination of resected specimens often differ. For this study, we recapitulated the surgeon's perspective during an operation, accordingly classified the evaluation of margins by the surgeon, and analyzed its impact on the outcome compared with the pathological results. Methods: This was a retrospective analysis. As data sources, paper-based and digital patient files, as well as the Munich Cancer Registry database were used. Results: Three hundred ninety-six cases were included in this analysis. Only the evaluation of margins by the surgeon influenced local control, and the pathological results influenced disease-free survival (DFS). Surprisingly, margins of >5 mm of normal tissue to cancer growth led to local control and overall survival (OS) significantly worse than 1 to 5-mm resections. Conclusion: The evaluation of margins by the surgeon is of significant importance for local control and OS. It is largely based on frozen section analysis, which, therefore, should be used whenever possible.