“Taking less, treating better.” It’s one of the maxims of breast surgeons over the last four decades, wrote co-authors of a 2014 article about the merits of breast-conserving treatment. Unfortunately, between 30% and 40% of patients are dissatisfied with their final cosmetic result, according to a 2018 prospective cohort study of quality of life and cosmetic outcome in patients undergoing breast-conserving surgery.
Breast surgeons’ embrace of breast-conserving therapy presents many benefits to patients. Still, dents, bulges, or other distortions to the size of their breasts near the surgical site may occur, according to BreastCancer.org. Some women may even notice that their breasts are sized or positioned differently after the tumor is removed. This is important for breast surgeons to keep in mind because any of these cosmetic outcomes may require reconstruction.
Patient satisfaction with the cosmetic result is one reason Richard Fine, MD, a breast surgeon, and director of education and research at Margaret West Comprehensive Center in Germantown, Tenn., likes using the LOCalizer™ Wire-free Guidance System.
He credits the LOCalizer system with helping him to change the direction of the plane he’s dissecting. That, in turn, allows him to leave more tissue behind, which can translate to a better cosmetic result for his patients. Specifically, Fine relies on the system to ensure that the margin is evenly spaced around the circumference of the tumor.
Hear Breast Surgeon and Department Chair’s thoughts on LOCalizer
Introducing LOCalizer™, the wire-free breast lesion system from Hologic.
Breast surgeons can rely on real-time guidance into tumor’s location
Fine relies on the LOCalizer system to help provide better cosmetic and clinical results for his patients. Developed by Marlborough, Mass.-based Hologic, Inc., the LOCalizer is a wireless radio frequency identification (RFID) breast lesion system. It can enable precision and ease of use for breast surgery guidance.
The LOCalizer system includes:
- A miniature RFID tag with a unique ID number pre-loaded in a needle applicator
- A single-use surgical probe with a small, approximately 8 mm tip
- A portable handheld reader that can be used in a sterile (when enclosed in the system’s sterile drape) or unsterile environment
The tag is pre-loaded in the needle applicator and comes with a unique identification number, which allows the breast surgeon to locate it during the procedure; it can be inserted several days or hours before the surgical procedure. Visible under X-ray and ultrasound, the tag presents no contraindication for patients with nickel allergies, according to Hologic.
The breast surgeon uses a single-use sterile probe to locate the tag during the surgical procedure. Showing the distance to the tag in millimeters, the portable handheld reader also shows the surgeon the tag’s unique ID number on a screen. The brightness of the screen can be personalized to the surgeon’s preferences, per Hologic.
Fine contrasts his experience with the LOCalizer with relying on ultrasound to attempt to locate the lesion. With the LOCalizer, the surgeon has access to real-time measurement regarding the circumference of every lesion. The end results? Evenly spaced margins and a better cosmetic result for patients.
Sterile probe offers surgeons the benefit of directionality
Fine appreciates the ability to use the single-use sterile probe to note its proximity to the tumor. For example, he can use the probe to see when he’s gone under a tumor, which enables him to dissect on the posterior side. Fine relies on the handheld reader to show him the distance from the tumor in millimeters.
Because the LOCalizer system shows him the location of the tumor, Fine said that he can evenly space the margin around it. The benefit to his patients is the removal of less tissue and a better cosmetic result.
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