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Breast Health Center Providing Radioactive Seed Localization Procedure


The Breast Health Center at Kent Hospital now offers patients radioactive seed localization, a state-of-the-art technique that vastly improves the pre and post-operative experience for patients and providers. The new procedure was recently granted approval from the Rhode Island Department of Health and is only available in Rhode Island at Kent Hospital.

Radioactive seed localization (RSL) is the preliminary procedure for those undergoing surgery for non-palpable, image detected breast cancer or high risk lesion. The technique enhances the surgeon’s ability to locate, dissect, and remove the lesion. RSL minimizes the volume of tissue removed compared to the traditional technique, wire localization procedure (WLP), by placing the seed at or adjacent to the lesion. Unlike WLP, where a wire is placed the morning of surgery, RSL implants a radioactive seed (radioactive iodine-125 or I25) up to five days prior. Implantation is similar to placing a clip, which is always done whenever a biopsy is performed.

Developed in the late 1990s and tested in randomized trial since 2001, RSL has grown in popularity throughout the nation. It is now the preferred clinical procedure to WLP. Dr. Candace Dyer, MD and Dr. Naveh, Levy, MD of Kent Hospital’s Breast Health Center were trained in the procedure at the Mayo Clinic and Baystate Medical. “This technique will improve our patient’s surgical experience while keeping their care close to home,” said Michael Dacey, MD, president and COO, Kent Hospital. “It is always important to provide our patients with care that will result in the best possible outcomes. This new clinical offering will do just that.”

When a lumpectomy or segmental mastectomy is performed, extra tissue that surrounds the cancer must be removed. While the amount of tissue doesn’t need to be excessive this process provides the margins necessary to be considered “tumor free.” With wire localization, margins are difficult to clear as surgeons cannot identify the lesion’s exact location. WLP results in more tissue removal, compromising the ultimate appearance of the breast, and data showcases a higher probability of returning for a secondary surgery to remove additional tissue. “Radioactive seed localization resolves many of the challenges WLP presented. The technique allows for more directed surgery, resulting in less pain, better cosmetics, and fewer incidences of re-excisions,” said Dr. Candace Dyer, MD, physician director of The Breast Health Center at Kent and surgeon.

Prolonged patient wait times are also eliminated with the transition to this new technique, resulting in increased operating room efficiency. Patients will experience shorter hospital stays as RSL reduces the overall procedure time.

Wire localization requires the patient to be transported, partially dressed, with a wire extending from the breast from diagnostic imaging to the ambulatory surgery center. Transitioning to RSL eliminates OR wait times and most importantly, patient stress and discomfort. Now, patients and their caretakers can arrive directly for their scheduled mastectomy. The implanted radioactive seed presents no harm to the patient, family, or hospital staff. The seed, which is about the size of a grain of rice, is placed by a radiologist at Kent Hospital’s Women’s Diagnostic Imaging Center yielding minimal radiation exposure. A mammogram ensures the seed is located as close as possible to the lesion. The seed is removed with the lesion and additional tissue during surgery.

The Breast Health Center at Kent ensures the availability of comprehensive breast care to women in our community. Joining the dedicated medical professionals at Kent with some of the nation's leading breast health experts from Women & Infants, The Breast Health Center at Kent provides a comprehensive array of services including: mammography, ultrasound, needle biopsies of the breast and breast MRI; clinical evaluation and treatment; fertility counseling, genetic counseling; social services; nutrition consultation and support groups. To learn more about this procedure or The Breast Health Center at Kent, patients should call: (401) 736-3737.

About Kent Hospital

Kent Hospital, a Care New England Hospital, is a 359-bed, acute care hospital. It is Rhode Island’s second largest hospital, serving approximately 300,000 residents of central Rhode Island.

A teaching affiliate of The University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine, Kent offers programs in Emergency Medicine, Family Medicine, Internal Medicine and an Undersea and Hyperbaric Medicine Fellowship. Kent’s redesigned Emergency Department (ED) sees approximately 70,000 patients a year and ranks Kent’s ED volume among the top 10-percent nationally. It was the first hospital in the state to eliminate the practice of ambulance diversion.