Tumour Localisation with “Seed” Therapy

Photo: Picture of a breast

Better tumour removal with "seed"
therapy; © Pixelio.de

During the procedure, a radiologist uses a needle to insert a small radioactive seed, about the size of a grain of rice, into the mass. Once lodged, surgeons use a wand that detects radioactivity to locate the mass and find the best pathway for removal. Dr. Roshni Rao, an assistant professor of surgery, teamed up with Dr. Michael Ulissey, an associate professor of radiology, to use this new procedure at Parkland Memorial Hospital. The procedure is offered at only two other U.S. medical centers.

Previously, a radiologist would lance a thin, hooked wire into the breast to help guide the surgeon to the location of the mass. While one end of the wire was lodged at or near the mass, the other end protruded from the patient’s skin. Often, Rao said, the entry site of the wire was distant from the ideal site where a surgeon would prefer to make an incision. The wire also did not always take a direct path to the lesion.

The seed procedure pinpoints the location of a nonpalpable tumour more accurately than the wire and it is more efficient, Rao said. The wire method, on the other hand, requires patients to undergo the pre-operative procedure just hours before surgery because if left in longer, the wire could become dislodged.

“With the seed technique, the patient can have the seed inserted up to five days before surgery, any time of day,” Dr. Ulissey said. “The seed procedure also increases efficiency in the radiology department since we are not locked into a two-hour window to insert the wire on the day of the surgery.”

MEDICA.de; Source: University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center