An Indian origin physician at UT Southwestern Medical Centre has developed a new technique that can help in identifying breast tumours with more accuracy.
In the new technique, small radioactive pellet, or "seed", is implanted into a mass or suspicious lesion in the breast to pinpoint its exact location for surgical removal.
"The new technique is less invasive for the patient and allows us to be more precise when removing possible breast-cancer tumours," said Dr. Roshni Rao, a surgical oncologist who specializes in breast cancer.
Dr Roshni Rao, a surgical oncologist and 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 new technique is less invasive for the patient and allows us to be more precise when removing possible breast-cancer tumors," said Dr. Rao.
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.
In the procedure used earlier, 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.
Dr. Rao said that the seed procedure locate nonpalpable tumour more accurately than the wire and it is more efficient.
"With the seed technique, the patient can have the seed inserted up to five days before surgery, any time of day," said Dr. Ulissey.
"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," he added.