Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) is a new imaging approach to improve accuracy of surgical treatment of cancer.
It works similarly to ultrasound, except instead of sound it uses light waves to visualize tissue in real time. Small Animal Clinic at the University of Illinois is the first one in the US to use it.
The advantage is knowing exactly which tissue needs to be extracted.
If you can see the cancer, you can take it out and leave healthy tissue alone. Some other techniques for identifying cancerous tissue had been tested. Otherwise two things can happen. Without being able to see which tissue is bad and which isn't, either not enough tissue is removed, which results in second surgery, or a bunch of extra tissue needs to be removed in hopes for getting all of the cancer.
That can be tricky, such as in JD's case, where his mast cell tumor was in such a location where there wasn't much tissue to begin with. We decided to take enough even at a cost of having to use a graft, rather than worry about closing the wound and leaving some cancer behind.
More precision would mean more healthy tissue preserved and no cancerous cells left in the body.
Technology being able to extend beyond our the ability of our senses is always great. I'll be watching this one.
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