WESTFIELD – Baystate Noble Hospital offers its breast cancer patients the leading edge in technology with its radioactive seed localization surgery.
Breast surgeon Dr. Danielle M. Lipoff performed the first seed surgery at Noble in June. Previously, the surgery was offered locally only at Baystate Health System’s Springfield location.
Lipoff said the radioactive seed surgery replaces the standard wire-localization procedure for patients with breast cancer who will undergo a lumpectomy.
She said it is a game changer in many respects.
“I can’t over-sell it, it’s fantastic,” Lipoff said. “With this procedure, we can really localize, and it takes less tissue. It really is spectacular.”
The seed – about the size of a grain of rice – is placed in the abnormal tissue through mammography, allowing surgeons to locate breast tumors and make more precise incisions at the time of surgery.
“I remove the seed during surgery and x-ray the specimen,” Lipoff said.
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, it allows for a better surgical incision and reduces the length of the surgery. According to Baystate Health, studies show that radioactive seed localization reduces the need to have a second surgery due to incomplete removal of the abnormal tissue.
Funding for the radioactive seed program at Baystate Noble was made possible with a $100,000 donation from the Baystate Health Foundation with money raised at the 2019 Baystate Noble Ball.
“The program was up and running six months after the Ball,” Lipoff said. “It’s really heartwarming to see how Baystate Health has supported our breast cancer patients.”
Lipoff said many patients have benefitted from radioactive seed localization surgery at Noble over the past six months and some days she performs as many as eight surgeries.
For more information on radioactive seed surgery and other breast cancer treatments available at Baystate Noble Hospital, visit baystatehealth.org.
This is the second in a series of articles promoting National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and the services offered by Baystate Breast and Wellness Center and Baystate Surgial Oncology and Breast Specialists. Articles will run Tuesdays throughout October.