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Breast Surgery Goes Wireless

Modern technology is increasingly finding ways to strengthen the fight against breast cancer and to make the path to wellness easier for patients. Advanced imaging has been able to identify cancers earlier than ever, allowing treatment for cancers before they are large enough to feel.   Dr. Kennedy RFID Tag

But the process hasn’t been as easy as we’d like to make it for patients. For example, when breast imaging has found something small to be removed, such as cancers or other abnormalities, the radiologist would mark the spot for the surgeon with a wire. One end would mark the location internally, the other end of the wire would rise above the surface of the skin. This is how the surgeon would find and remove the abnormal tissue.

As you can imagine, that wire can be uncomfortable, and the patient has to be careful not to dislodge it. In order to minimize her time with the wire in place, the patient would be scheduled to have imaging and wire placement on the day of surgery.

“We’re talking about operating on lesions that are too small to feel,” says breast surgeon Patricia Rae Kennedy, MD, FACS, clinical director of Saratoga Hospital Center for Breast Care. “The idea with our advanced imaging is to find cancer when it’s as small as we can possibly see.  Early detection and catching cancer early is paramount, but it does present a challenge for surgeons.”

But not anymore, thanks to a technology you carry in your wallet every day. 

“We’re in a new era of localization for breast surgery,” says Dr. Kennedy. “We can now offer patients an alternative to having a wire sticking out of their breast. Breast surgery has gone wireless.”

Using FDA-approved radio frequency identification (RFID) technology, just like in a credit card chip, the radiologist can insert a tiny device, called a tag, at the lesion location in the breast at any point prior to surgery. The surgeon can later find it with a reader, then the RFID tag is removed along with the lesion during surgery. The patient can’t even tell it’s there, so she can comfortably go about her day. Depending on the surgeon’s recommendation, surgery can now be scheduled days or even weeks after the RFID tag is placed.  

“It’s not that the wire doesn’t work,” Dr. Kennedy says, “but the patient is going through enough already. We have the technology to find tiny, abnormal tissue, and now we have the technology to remove it with the least amount of distress to the patient. It’s wonderful, and I’m glad to be a part of a hospital that prioritizes these kinds of investments in patient care.”

Learn more about the team and services at Saratoga Hospital Center for Breast Care at its dedicated website.
 

Mar 17, 2020 | Categories: Medical News
 
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Sandy B, Patient

"From diagnosis to maintenance mode the Saratoga Breast Center has performed above and beyond what one would expect. The professionalism, care and compassion I was shown during this difficult journey let me know I was not alone."

Patty F, Patient

"I am so happy to have had Dr. Kennedy as my breast surgeon. She is caring and takes her time to explain what I was to expect from my surgery and aftercare. The entire staff is just as caring and they all are just as wonderful as Dr. Kennedy."
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