Greater Westfield Chamber of Commerce

RADIOACTIVE SEED LOCALIZATION BREAST SURGERY AT BAYSTATE NOBLE

Breast surgeon Dr. Danielle Lipoff today performed the first Radioactive Seed Localization (RSL) breast surgery to be offered to patients at Baystate Noble Hospital.  

Radioactive Seed Localization, previously available in the health system only at Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, is a leading-edge, more accurate technique replacing the standard wire-localization procedure (WLP) for women with breast cancer who will undergo a lumpectomy.

Funding for the radioactive seed program at Baystate Noble was made possible with the donation of $100,000 from the Baystate Health Foundation with monies raised at the 2019 Baystate Noble Ball.

The technique employs advanced radiologic imaging which allows surgeons to locate breast tumors and make more precise incisions, allowing them to remove the cancer in its entirety with minimal disturbance to the surrounding breast tissue. With the RSL procedure, a radiologist uses mammography to place a very low-energy radioactive seed, about the size of a grain of rice,  into the abnormal tissue or tumor. During the surgery, the surgeon uses a handheld gamma probe (a device that detects radioactivity) to more precisely identify the location of the tumor. The gamma probe also allows the surgeon to obtain a three dimensional view of the tumor's location.

Because the surgeon can more accurately locate the  tumor with RSL, it allows for a better surgical incision and also reduces the length of the surgery. In addition, studies show that RSL reduces the need to have a second surgery due to incomplete removal of the abnormal tissue.

“The Baystate Breast Surgery Program is thrilled to introduce the radioactive seed surgery program to Baystate Noble Hospital.  We remain committed to ensuring optimal care for our patients in Baystate’s western region.  With the addition of the Radioactive Seed Localization technique, along with the other breast surgeries done at Baystate Noble, the hospital is a preferred destination for breast surgery,” said Dr. Holly Mason, section chief for Breast Surgery, Baystate Health. Dr. Mason was the first breast surgeon in western Massachusetts to perform the surgery at Baystate Medical Center after learning the technique from other surgeons at the Mayo Clinic.

Dr. Danielle Lipoff, director of Breast Surgery at Baystate Noble Hospital, performed the inaugural surgery today. “It was my privilege to perform  Baystate Noble’s first radioactive seed localization procedure today. It is the culmination of hundreds of hours of work behind the scenes by team members from multiple departments to bring this level of care to the patients of Westfield,” she said.

Breast surgeons employ a technique called Hidden Scar surgery which offers patients improved cosmetic results and is made easier by radioactive seed localization. After the breast lesion is localized with the radioactive seed, the surgeon can then use the Hidden Scar approach and make the incision in an inconspicuous area of the breast. As a result, when the scar heals, the patient will have little to no visible reminder of the surgery.  

“Baystate Noble Hospital was recently designated as a Hidden Scar Center of Excellence as all of our breast surgical oncologists have been trained in Hidden Scar techniques, allowing us to provide cutting edge cancer surgery and improved aesthetics,” said Dr. Lipoff.

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