How New Technology Makes Lumpectomy More Precise, Take Less Time
March 21, 2018
A diagnosis of breast cancer will have you wondering what lies ahead, thinking about what treatments you will need and worrying about the future.
A new procedure for women who are scheduled to undergo breast surgery to treat their cancer changes the way the tumor is located and marked before surgery. The procedure has the potential to lessen anxiety and improve the overall patient experience.
Prior to a lumpectomy, the tumor must be marked so that it can be precisely located during surgery. An accurate location is essential to ensure that the tumor and an adequate margin of surrounding healthy tissue is removed.
The traditional method of tumor marking involves feeding a guide wire into the breast and “hooking” the tumor. The tail of the guide wire is left exposed outside the body and taped down to the skin. The surgeon then follows the wire to perform the lumpectomy. The same technique is used to mark lymph nodes that have been biopsied and need to be surgically removed.
With the wire method, the patient must go to radiology the day of the surgery for the localization, which is guided by either mammography or ultrasound. Later that day in the operating room, the surgeon follows the wire to the cancer or lymph node.
Seeds vs. Guide Wires
University Hospitals is one of the first providers in the region to move to a new tumor marking system developed by Endomag that uses seeds instead of a guide wire.
Called the Magseed® system, this method places a tiny metallic pellet – smaller than a grain of rice – within the tumor. Imaging technology is used to guide the pellet into the tumor and mammography confirms that the placement is correct. On the day of surgery, the Magseed® and the cancer it marks can be detected by a metal-detector-like magnetic wand that enables the surgeon to precisely locate and remove the tumor.
Unlike guide wires, a Magseed® can be inserted days or months in advance, usually at an already scheduled breast center visit. The patient has already had the tumor or node localized on the morning of surgery, preventing delays and additional procedures. Patients have been appreciative of eliminating the wire-localization step and have reported that less time spent waiting has resulted in less stress and anxiety. Because of the accuracy of the localization, the Magseed® technique also reduces the incidence of repeat surgeries and lowers the risk of removing more healthy tissue than necessary.
“The Magseed® system has revolutionized the way I care for my patients," says oncology breast surgeon Ashley Simpson, DO. “This technology allows the patient to feel at ease, knowing her tumor has been precisely located prior to the day of surgery. A patient can understandably be anxious on the day of surgery, and many appreciate that there is one less step between them and becoming cancer-free.”
University Hospitals offers the Magseed® system for lumpectomies at three east side locations: UH Cleveland Medical Center, UH Ahuja Medical Center and UH Suburban Surgery Center. The UH breast team hopes to expand this service to multiple other locations in the near future.
"Magseed® improves the patient experience as well as our surgical outcomes and I'm thankful UH has been an early adopter of this technology," Dr. Simpson says.
When faced with a breast cancer diagnosis, one of the most important decisions you will make is where to go for treatment. At University Hospitals, you will be cared for by compassionate breast cancer experts who understand your concerns, address your fears and reassure you that we can treat your breast cancer. We offer more cancer-fighting tools and treatment options than any other provider in the region. Learn more about breast cancer treatment options for women at UH Seidman Cancer Center.
Learn more about the Magseed® system.