Conventional Surgery Conventional Surgery

Surgical excision is the most effective method of treatment for most canine and feline neoplasms. Benign tumours should be removed completely by surgery, and early, poorly inavassive malignant tumours can also be totally removed. Larger, invasive neoplasms can be debulked, allowing natural defence mechanisms or other treatment modalities such as cryotherapy, radiotherapy, hyperthermia or chemotherapy greater opportunity to be effective.

On rare occasions highly malignant neoplasms will metastasise during or immediately after surgery, hence careful planning of surgical technique is necessary to minimise the risk of metastasis. For example, ligate blood vessels leaving a tumour mass before manipulation or cutting. If possible exteriorise the neoplastic mass to isolate it from a body cavity or underlying tissue and pack it off well to prevent inadvertent transfer of malignant cells into the body cavity or local tissues during surgery. Neoplastic tissues should always be handled gently to avoid release of potent substances such as histamine and heparin into the circulation.

When excising tumours try to assess the limits of abnormal tissue and add an extra margin to ensure that the whole of the neoplastic mass is excised. Remove local lymph nodes if they are involved, but leave them if they are not.

Before surgery it is important to screen the patient to ensure that it is capable of surviving the anaesthesia and surgical procedure and both anaesthesia and surgery time should be kept as short as possible. If major organ system disease is present the patient should be stabilised before surgery unless the neoplasm is life-threatening. For all but the most minor of benign tumours chest radiographs are essential to confirm that lung metastases are not present.

Surgically removed neoplastic tissue should always be submiffed for histopathological examination to confirm the diagnosis.

Surgery is least successful by itself as a treatment for lymphomas (unless an isolated mass), leukaemia, oral carcinomas, bone tumours and feline mammary tumours (which are almost always malignant).
Surgical excision is the most effective method of treatment for most canine and feline neoplasms. Benign tumours should be removed completely by surgery, and early, poorly invasive malignant tumours can also be totally