MarginProbe Reduces Positive Margin Rate by Half for Nevada Surgeon

Dr. Joseph P. Contino is a board-certified breast surgeon at Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada, a multispecialty oncology group providing services to patients in Nevada and from out of state. After years of treating breast, colon and thyroid cancers, Dr. Contino decided to specialize in treating various breast-related diseases using less invasive technologies such as breast ultrasound, stereotactic imaging, cryotherapy, and other new technologies like MarginProbe.

“After treating breast cancer for 22 years, there has been a lot of change in the way that we provide effective treatment options,” said Dr. Contino. “Trying to preserve the breast is very important to me. One of the main components of trying to save the breast is being able to tell a patient after surgery that not only have we saved the breast, but we’ve also eradicated the disease as much as possible. Beyond that, if we’re going to save the breast, we certainly want it to appear cosmetically acceptable to the patient.”

Evaluating MarginProbe

MountainView Hospital in Las Vegas, Nevada worked with Dr. Contino for more than a year evaluating a new piece of technology being used in the fight against breast cancer known as MarginProbe. This tool, which identifies clear margins in real-time during lumpectomies, proved to be very effective for positive patient outcomes while offering financial benefits. =

“After a year, I was able to convince the hospital that this is best for patient as well as a financially sound decision,” explained Dr. Contino. “We were able to demonstrate how it could make a difference in patient care, and they understood why I was so passionate about the product.

Using MarginProbe

Prior to surgery, Dr. Contino discusses the use of MarginProbe with each of his patients. He reviews the literature on MarginProbe and explains how it can help their case. In terms of using the system, he has taken a hands-on approach. “I had this technology on my radar for a long time. I was very familiar with the product before I brought it into the operating room, and I just started using it,” he stated. “While there’s a learning curve at first, there is also product support from the company, which I think is very beneficial. But for the most part, it’s one of those things that you have to get it in your hands, and you have to become prehensile with it. But once you’re comfortable, it does not increase the amount of time in the OR.”

“I use MarginProbe with every appropriate lumpectomy candidate,” said Dr. Contino. “I haven’t found any restrictions on when not to use it, so I work with it on all cases where I think it’s going to be helpful, and that’s pretty much all the time.”

Defining the Advantages of MarginProbe

After using MarginProbe on a weekly basis for a year, Dr. Contino has a strong opinion on its performance. “If you have a large volume of patients, you’re going to want to use MarginProbe on every case,” he declared. “I have a number of cases where I might have just removed the specimen based on what the imaging showed, but MarginProbe told me to actually take more tissue. In my opinion, MarginProbe is a very effective tool and with clear benefits to the patients.”

“For a surgeon, if you’re interested in sparing as much of the breast as possible but removing the entire tumor and any questionable surrounding tumor, MarginProbe is easy to use for real-time accuracy,” he continued. “It provides a much more targeted margin re-excision at the time of surgery. Now that I’ve started to use it, my re-excision rates have decreased significantly.”

MarginProbe: A Measurable Difference

“The re-excision rate in my practice is now about 50 percent less than before using MarginProbe, and this was very consistent with the published literature,” stated Dr. Contino. “The re-excision rate nationwide is roughly 28 percent. I know that with MarginProbe, I’m hitting 10 percent now. It works tremendously.”

Joseph P. Contino, MD, FACS

  • Board-certified general surgeon at Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada
  • Ultrasound Certification with the American Society of Breast Surgeons
  • Previous participant in the Salem Hospital Breast Center Committee, Salem Hospital Planning Center for Outpatient Medicine
  • Previously appointed Section Chief of Salem Hospital General Surgery
  • Member of:
    • American Society of Breast Surgeons
    • Clark County Medical Society
    • Fellow of the American College of Surgeons
    • Registered with The Mastery of Surgery Breast Program and Original Pilot Program

Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada

  • Multidisciplinary oncology group comprising medical oncology, hematology, radiation oncology, breast surgery, pulmonary medicine and clinical research
  • Fourteen treatment centers and offices throughout Southern Nevada, providing services for more than 35 years
  • Participates in more than 170 Phase I, Phase II and Phase III clinical research studies each year
  • Helped develop more than 60 FDA approved cancer therapies including the recent approvals for Provenge, Xofigo and Hercepin
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