More than 2.8 million U.S. women need surgery every year to remove cancerous tumors. A new technology called Savi Scout is making lumpectomies (or partial removal of the breast) easier for patients and surgeons by:
- decreasing time in the hospital
- and increasing lumpectomies' success rates
It may also give women more normal-looking breasts after surgery by reducing the amount of healthy breast tissue that's removed.
No Wires = Less Time in the Hospital
Did you know that during lumpectomies, surgeons use wires to mark a tumor's location inside your breast? During wire localization, surgeons work with radiologists who insert a wire into your breast the morning of your surgery.
But coordinating surgeons' and radiologists' schedules can be hard. If schedules don't line up, some women wait hours before their surgery.
"Patients haven't eaten and are [already] anxious on the day of surgery," explains Anna McGow, MD, director of outpatient imaging at University of Utah Health Care. "Undergoing a separate wire localization procedure that morning can make patients even more anxious and uncomfortable."
This is where Savi Scout comes in. Instead of using wires, it uses a small, 1cm reflector to help surgeons find tumors.
Radiologists can implant this reflector inside your breast up to 30 days before surgery. The benefit? No extra waiting the morning of surgery.
How Does the Technology Work?
Surgeons use a hand-held device that emits a tiny radar signal to find the reflector inside your breast.
"SAVI Scout is safe and FDA approved for use in surgery. The system uses non-radioactive wave technology similar to radar," says Jane Porretta, MD, a general surgeon who specializes in breast surgery at the University of Utah.
Finding Cancer Cells
It's important for surgeons to find the exact location of cancerous cells. But wires can slip and travel away from the tumor, making it harder to remove cancerous tissue. When this happens, some women may need a second surgery.
"The SAVI scout localization procedure allows the surgeon to precisely find the target tissue in the breast for removal," says Porretta. This allows surgeons to find and remove cancerous cells—instead of healthy breast tissue.
This may also help patients get important treatments like chemotherapy and radiation faster.
Saving healthy tissue can lead to better cosmetic results, too. Women may have fuller, more normally shaped breasts after surgery.
If you ask us, it's a pretty good alternative to a genie in a bottle.