Hospitals Go Wireless for Lumpectomies in Breast Cancer Treatment | New


JOHNSTOWN, Pa .– In most cases, a cancer patient undergoing breast conservation surgery, known as a lumpectomy, should come early on the day of her surgery for a localization procedure.

Usually performed by a radiologist, the procedure involved the use of ultrasound or other imaging technology to guide a thread through the skin to the tumor.

Sometimes the patient would then have to wait several hours for surgery with the wire sticking out of her body, breast surgeon Dr Trudi Brown told Windber’s Joyce Murtha Breast Care Center.

Today, the Murtha Center at Chan Soon-Shiong Medical Center in Windber and many other medical centers have introduced “seed tracing” which eliminates the use of wire.

Although hospitals use different systems, the procedure begins with placing a small device called a “seed” on the tumor following an image-guided core biopsy. The devices can be as small as a sesame seed.

Each system includes technology to locate the seed. Some seeds are slightly radioactive and can be located using a portable measuring device. Others are basically reflectors that can be tracked with radar or a magnetic field sensor.

“The seed is placed with a needle directly into the breast,” Brown said. “It can be done at a time that is convenient for the patient. This can be done weeks in advance.

On the day of the lumpectomy, the doctor uses the appropriate instrument to precisely locate the seed and use its location to guide their instruments.

“We have a hand held probe that will alert us when we are close to the seed,” Brown said.

So instead of coming early to have the thread inserted, the patient receives the seed a few days earlier and then shows up just half an hour before the procedure, said Dr Lauren Deur, diagnostic radiologist, at UPMC Altoona Medical Center. Station.

In addition to the added convenience for patients, locating the seeds may improve cosmetic results after lumpectomy, said breast surgeon Dr. Daniel Clark of Indiana Regional Medical Center.

“From an aesthetic point of view, we have a lot more options in how to make the incision on the breast,” he said. “There is limited access where they can put the wire in the breast. “

And because the sensing probe tells the surgeon how close he is to the tumor, surgery can be more precise, Clark said.

“I can take less tissue and have a better chance of getting a net margin,” he said.

Shifting from the threads to the seeds is part of the ongoing patient care, Brown said.

“What is really going on with breast cancer surgery is trying to make the patient feel comfortable,” she said. “We perform the surgery as we have done for years – but making the process much more comfortable for the patient physically and, often, psychologically.”

Randy Griffith is a multimedia reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. He can be reached at 532-5057. Follow him on twitter @ PhotoGriffer57.

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