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AC Schefler, DH Abramson, D Almeida, R Folberg; Optic Nerve Tissue Shrinkage During Pathologic Processing After Enucleation for Retinoblastoma . Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2002;43(13):2581.
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Purpose: To quantify and analyze the differences between the length of the optic nerve as measured by the ophthalmologist in the operating room after enucleation and the length as measured by the pathologist after fixation. Method: The authors performed a retrospective review of patients who underwent either primary or secondary enucleation for retinoblastoma at the Ophthalmic Oncology Center of the New York-Presbyterian Hospital-Cornell Campus between November, 1979 and August, 2001. Intraoperative dictations as well as pathologic reports were reviewed to determine the length of resected optic nerve as recorded by both the surgeon and the pathologist. Results: Sufficient data for inclusion in the study was available from one hundred enucleation specimens belonging to ninety-six patients. A significant degree of shrinkage of the optic nerve occurred after fixation, with a mean shrinkage of 30.3% from the time of enucleation to the time of measurement by the pathologist. Age at enucleation had an effect on the degree of optic nerve shrinkage: nerves from younger children underwent more shrinkage than nerves from older patients. Sex of the patient and laterality of disease did not significantly affect optic nerve shrinkage. Conclusion: A significant degree of shrinkage of the optic nerve occurs in retinoblastoma enucleation specimens after fixation prior to pathologic analysis. Therefore, tumor clearance margins in the optic nerve as recorded by the pathologist may be misleading. This finding must be taken into account when making recommendations for chemoprophylaxis based solely on histopathologic examination.
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