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New Technology for Breast Surgery: Radioactive Seed Localization

Posted on November 13, 2015 by Dr. Laura Klein, breast surgeon and Medical Director of The Valley Hospital Breast Center; and Dr. Jaclyn Calem-Grunat, radiologist and Director of Breast Imaging at Valley

The Valley Hospital was the first hospital in northern New Jersey to offer a more accurate and patient-friendly procedure to precisely pinpoint and remove both small benign and cancerous breast tumors or abnormal breast tissue. The procedure, called radioactive seed localization, consists of a radiologist injecting a low-energy radioactive “seed” the size of a grain of rice into the breast tissue to mark the exact location of the tumor or abnormal tissue. In the operating room, the breast surgeon uses a handheld gamma detection probe (a device used to measure radioactivity) to locate the seed and remove both it and the abnormal breast tissue.

Dr. Laura Klein, breast surgeon and Medical Director of The Valley Hospital Breast Center, recently discussed the advantages of radioactive seed localization on the WCBS Newsradio 880 Health and Well Being Report.  Listen!
When there is a diagnosis of breast cancer, the procedure allows removal of the cancerous tissue and the margins around the tumor. The radioactive seed is not dangerous and only emits enough radiation to allow for detection by the breast surgeon.
 
Radioactive seed localization in many cases may replace the need for wire-localization – a procedure that involves inserting a guide wire into the breast several hours prior to surgery, leaving the wire protruding from the skin until removal in the operating room.Radioactive seed localization offers a much more convenient and certainly much more comfortable option for our patients. We can place the seed the day before (or several days before) surgery, allowing the patient to return for surgery closer to the time of the procedure without the discomfort of having the wire in place while she waits.
 
Seed localization allows us to know the exact location of the tumor and more accurately plan the surgical incision, which allows the scar to be placed in the most cosmetically preferable place. A study from the Mayo Clinic suggests that this precision also helps ensure we have removed all abnormal tissue, which decreases the risk of needing a second surgery.
 
Thankfully, with mammography and our advanced imaging techniques, we are detecting tumors at earlier stages that are smaller than ever before. Seed localization helps us to target those very small tumors, while minimizing the time the patient spends in the hospital and in preparation on the day of surgery.
 
Learn more about The Valley Hospital Breast Center.
Tags: , breast cancer

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