Text Size: A- A+ Facebook Twitter LinkedIn YouTube

Breaking News

Pledge the Gift of Life

Each year, the lives of thousands of people across the country are saved because someone made the choice to become an organ donor. In April, Allegheny Health Network is honored to celebrate National Donate Life Month and pay tribute to all of those who have bestowed the precious gift of life to another through organ donation. Visit AHNdonate.org to learn more and register to be an organ donor.

YouTube

SEARCH NEWS

Format: 04/19/2014
Format: 04/19/2014

News

Allegheny Health Network Doctors Use Radioactive Seeds to Help Surgeons Target Small Breast Tumors

Wednesday, August 7th, 2013

Doctors at Allegheny Health Network are offering a more patient-friendly and effective technique for pinpointing the location of small breast tumors, using tiny, implanted radioactive seeds.
Radioactive seed localization lets surgeons precisely target the location of these small tumors, increasing the chances that they will remove the cancerous tissue and leave healthy tissue surrounding the tumor intact. For patients, radioactive seed localization minimizes discomfort during a stressful time in their lives.
The technique, available at only select medical centers around the country, will eventually be used for most women with a tumor that can be removed with breast conservation, said William Poller, MD, Director of Breast Imaging at Allegheny Health Network.
In radioactive seed localization, a radiologist injects the seeds, which are about the size of a grain of rice, into the patient’s tumor. The older technique involved inserting wires into the breast, a procedure that at times made a difficult day even harder on patients.
“We can insert the radioactive pellet at the patient’s convenience, even several days before the surgery,” Dr. Poller said. “The wires had to be inserted by a radiologist two hours prior to the surgery, necessitating more scheduling and often leaving the patient in some discomfort as she waited for surgery.”
“With radioactive seed localization, patients proceed directly to the operating room on the day of surgery,” said Kathleen Erb, MD, an Allegheny Health breast surgeon who is using the new technology “The pellets, which emit a very low dose of radiation, are removed along with the tumor.”
The surgeon locates the seed using a Geiger counter so that she knows exactly where the incision should be placed to minimize the amount of tissue removed. A 2010 study published in the American Journal of Surgery found using radioactive seeds reduced the need for repeat surgery by 50 percent compared to the wire method.
“Thanks to advanced imaging technologies, we can find tumors even before they can be felt by the patient,”Dr. Poller said. “Now when we go into surgery we can precisely target those very small tumors and get the best outcome for patients.”
 
For more information, contact:
X
West Penn Allegheny Health System
Tell us who you are:

What areas do you use on our website?*
(select more than one if it applies)











Did you find what you were looking for?


Would you refer others to our website?

Can we contact you for future questions?

CAPTCHA math question:* 1 + 3 =

Thank you for completing the West Penn Allegheny Health System website survey.
We value your feedback and comments.