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Massey first in the region to use a new device that marks breast tumors for removal

Magseed™ is a simpler, more effective alternative to traditional wire localization methods

Magseed
Magseed™ is a magnetic seed made of stainless steel that is smaller than a grain of rice and is used to guide surgeons in locating and removing breast tumors.

VCU Massey Cancer Center is the first in the region to use a new, FDA-approved device that guides surgeons in locating and removing breast tumors. Named Magseed™, the device is a simpler, more effective alternative to traditional wire localization methods.

Nearly 50 percent of breast tumors are not felt by touch at the time of diagnosis. In these cases, a technique called wire localization has traditionally been used to help mark the tumor for surgeons to remove during a lumpectomy. Wire localization involves a thin wire being inserted into the tumor by a radiologist, who uses a mammogram, breast ultrasound or breast MRI as a guide.

Although widely used, wire localization commonly causes complications. Because the wire sticks out from the breast and hours may elapse between when it was implanted and the operation begins, the wire may become dislodged. For this reason, on average, one in every four breast wire localizations result in cancerous tissue being left behind and requiring additional surgery. There is also a risk of infection due to the wire protruding from the skin, so the placement of the wire must be done on the same day as surgery. Furthermore, the protruding wire is uncomfortable for patients, and the placement of the wire and surgery occurring in the same day requires a multiple-hour stay in the hospital.

Magseed™ is a magnetic seed made of stainless steel that is smaller than a grain of rice and can be placed into the tumor anytime – days or weeks – before the operation. Once implanted, the seed is not easily dislodged and patients are not restricted in movement or activity. They can return home after the seed is implanted and then arrive at the hospital closer to their scheduled surgery time. During surgery, the surgeon uses a magnetic detection probe to locate the seed and guide removal of the tumor and the seed within it.  Other wire localization alternatives exist. However, Magseed™ is the only widely available wire alternative that is radiation-free and cannot be deactivated during surgery.

During implantation of Magseed™, a small area of the breast is numbed by a local anesthetic similar to what a dentist uses. The radiologist uses either x-ray or ultrasound to guide precise placement of the seed. The seed is inserted through a very small needle and afterwards a small adhesive bandage will be used to cover the area.

Studies have shown that surgical outcomes, such as the amount of tissue removed and the rate of obtaining clear margins of tissue around the tumor, are better with the seed method than with wire localization.

“Magseed provides a more accurate target for the surgeon and a more comfortable and convenient procedure for the patient,” said surgical oncologist Kandace McGuire, M.D., chief of breast surgery and director of the Breast Cancer Collaborative Care Clinic at VCU Massey Cancer Center. “It’s a win-win when we can offer both a better patient experience and better surgical outcomes. I predict that Magseed will eventually become the new standard of care for breast lesion localization everywhere, and I’m proud that Massey is helping to pioneer this advancement.”

Written by: Jenny Owen

Posted on: August 7, 2018