Paradigm Change for Intraoperative Surgical Margin Assessment for Oral Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Idit Tessler*, Vered Marilena, Eran E. Alon, Nir A. Gecel, Eric Remer, Iris Gluck, Tal Yoffe, Alex Dobriyan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Achieving clear surgical margins is one of the primary surgical goals in treating oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) and thus aiming to improve overall and disease-specific survival. Therefore, we developed the Goal-Oriented Assessment for Intraoperative Margin (‘GAIM’) protocol, a novel intraoperative approach for margin assessment, and present here our 5-year experience and outcomes. Methods: ‘GAIM’ is a 7-step procedure comprising systematic ruler-aided resection of labeled tumor-bed margins, frozen section (FS) co-produced by both pathologists and operating surgeons, and immediate extension of resection according to FS findings. Data from all patients operated using the ‘GAIM’ protocol at a single tertiary center between 2018 to 2022 were analyzed, including margin status on FS and final pathology (FP) records, recurrence, and mortality. Results: A total of 196 patients were included, 56.6% (n = 111) stages I-II, and 43.4% (n = 85) stages III-IV. Using the ‘GAIM’ protocol, we achieved an overall 94.4% of clean and revised clean surgical margins. Patients with a 2-year and longer follow-up (n = 141) had local recurrence in 3.5% when both FS and final margins were clean, 8.1% when FP margins were clean, and 16.7% with close/positive final margins. Conclusions: The proposed ‘GAIM’ protocol is a novel, effective, reproducible, and safe approach for margin evaluation that can be systematically applied. It can increase the rate of final clean surgical margins and potentially improve patients' outcomes. Level of Evidence: 3 Laryngoscope, 2023.

Original languageEnglish
StateAccepted/In press - 2023


  • frozen section
  • oral squamous cell carcinoma
  • pathology
  • surgical margin


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