Enhancing the surgical experience for breast cancer patients

Written by Chronicle Staff. Posted in Health & Wellness, Uncategorized

Published on September 17, 2021 with No Comments

A tiny wire-free device is making a big difference for women diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer at the hospitals of Community Healthcare System. Surgeons and radiologists are using SAVI SCOUT® Wire-Free Radar Localization System to provide peace of mind, comfort and an overall better experience for patients undergoing treatment for breast cancer.

The SCOUT system uses FDA approved real-time radar technology to provide the surgeon with enhanced guidance during breast procedures including excisional biopsy and lumpectomy. The SCOUT marking device or reflector, about the size of a grain of rice, is placed at the tumor site prior to surgery at the patient’s convenience, up to 30 days before the procedure.

“At the Women’s Diagnostic Centers, we understand that breast cancer surgery can be physically and emotionally distressing for patients,” said dedicated fellowship-trained breast radiologist Mary Nicholson, MD, director of Breast Imaging Services for Community Healthcare System. “We are always striving to find better ways to create a better experience and treat our patients the way we would treat our own loved ones. SCOUT resolves one of the most difficult uncomfortable aspects of breast conservation surgery by eliminating the need to place a wire inside the breast tissue to locate a tumor.”

Previously, wire localization was used to mark and direct breast tumors during surgical procedures. Localization helps guide the surgeon to the site of suspected legion or surgical removal. This marks the spot for early stage cancers or those findings that cannot be felt on physical exam and is done on the same day as the procedure. The patient would need to come in early in the morning on the day of surgery and have a wire or wires implanted placed into the breast tissue-part inside and part sticking out. Then there usually would be a wait time until the surgery took place. This would create a much longer day from time of implant to time of surgery and the patient would not be able to have anything to eat or drink. During the procedure itself, the surgeon would then follow the wire and remove the tumor.

“Psychologically, it is distressing to know you have a wire sticking out of your skin even if you can’t see it all the time due to the dressing or bandage,” Nicholson said. “Unlike the wire localization, the SAVI SCOUT device, after it is placed in the breast, is not visible at all to the patient or anyone else. Patients are relieved that neither they nor anyone else will see or feel the device. It is designed to be a much more all-around comfortable patient-friendly way to localize for surgery.”

With the SCOUT technique in contrast, the surgeon scans the breast using the console and hand piece guide which emits infrared light and a radar signal to precisely and efficiently locate the reflector. The guide provides a real-time distance measurement to detect the location of the reflector to within 1 mm of accuracy. The ability to precisely locate tumors increases the probability of complete cancer removal and reduces the likelihood of any follow-up surgery. 

“I personally like the Savi marker for two reasons,” said Janushi Dalal, MD, fellowship-trained breast radiologist on staff at the hospitals of Community Healthcare System. “First, for convenience sake and second, it provides a little more precise localization.” 

“It’s mentally hard to come in, especially if you have cancer, and be walking around for a few hours with a wire sticking out from your breast,” she said. “We understand that it can be a more sensitive experience when you make a patient feel as normal as possible and empower them to go through the surgery. The fact that we have the ability to do it is a game changer for us. I believe it is going to be the standard of care very soon.”

“At the hospitals of Community Healthcare System, we are aiming, in terms of new technologies, to always be ahead of the curve,” Dalal said. “That is due in large part to our breast imaging director Dr. Nicholson making sure that we have this device available for our patients; something that is on par with other academic medical centers. I give her credit for seeing that we have locally the latest technologies that are changing and improving women’s care.”

For more information about Community Healthcare System’s cancer care services or the Women’s Diagnostic Centers, located in Crown Point, East Chicago, Hobart, Munster, St. John and Valparaiso, visit COMHS.org/cancer. To make an appointment for a mammogram screening, call 800-809-9828.

PHOTO Savi-Scout1-With the SCOUT technique, in contrast to standard localization, the surgeon scans the breast using the console and hand piece guide, which emits infrared light and a radar signal to precisely and efficiently locate the reflector. At St. Mary Medical Center’s Women’s Diagnostic Center in Hobart (left to right), Breast Health Navigator Beth Slacian, Mammography Tech Danielle Hilliard and Dr. Janushi Dalal are on hand for the demonstration.

IMG_7485 The SCOUT system uses FDA approved real-time radar technology to provide the surgeon with enhanced guidance during breast procedures including excisional biopsy and lumpectomy.

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