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Evaluation of incidence of incomplete margins after incisional scar revision


To evaluate a comprehensive margin evaluation after surgical scar revision for dogs with previously-diagnosed soft tissue sarcomas, mast cell tumors, and other dermal / subcutaneous tumors.


Typically, when a cancerous mass is surgically removed, the surgeon will send the tissue for laboratory analysis to see if the cancer was completely removed. Surgeons attempt to obtain “clean margins,” which provides an indication that they didn’t leave cancer cells behind that could grow back later. If laboratory analysis shows incomplete tumor removal, surgical revision of the incision is a treatment option, with the goal of achieving complete removal of the cancer cells.

There is currently no standardization of histologic evaluation techniques in veterinary medicine that is strongly supported by research. This study will use a comprehensive histologic evaluation technique to thoroughly assess the resected tissue and provide detailed information about whether any microscopic tumor cells were observed within the resected tissue. We aim to use these data to establish standardized histologic evaluations to improve veterinary cancer management. This information can help inform follow-up treatment or monitoring recommendations.


  • Dogs of any age, weight, and breed with incompletely resected soft tissue tumors, mast cell tumors, or any dermal / subcutaneous tumors whose owners have chosen standard-of-care surgical revision of the previous incision site.


  • Dogs with incompletely resected tumors that have undergone radiation therapy of the surgical site or chemotherapy for treatment of the cancer are not eligible for the study.

Study Design

Surgically resected tissue from revised incisions for previously resected soft tissue sarcomas, mast cell tumors, and other dermal / subcutaneous tumors will be submitted to the ViTALS laboratory for a comprehensive histopathologic evaluation. The results of the histopathologic evaluation will be conveyed to the owner by the primary clinician, as part of standard-of-care. All study procedures are performed on the tumor specimen after removal.


The cost of the comprehensive margin evaluation (histopathology) is covered by the study.  The owner will be responsible for all other non-study related costs associated with the assessment, diagnosis, and/or treatment of the participating animal, including the cost of the revision surgery. 


Dr. Joanne Tuohy, Assistant Professor, Surgical Oncology
Phone: 540-231-4321

Mindy Quigley, Clinical Trials Coordinator
Office Phone: 540-231-1363 | Email:

If your query is urgent, please call the Small Animal Hospital on 540-231-4621.

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