New ‘seed’ technique enhances breast surgeries at Putnam Hospital Center

Posted: 11/6/2015

Patricia Sessions’ sister and aunt died from breast cancer in their 30s and 40s. Two of her cousins were also diagnosed young with the disease.

Sessions, 37, takes precautions by getting annual mammograms and breast ultrasounds.

However, it was during her last ultrasound in October, doctors discovered an abnormality. A biopsy determined that the nodule had to be removed to rule out cancer.

On the day of surgery, rather than the traditional method of inserting wires into the breast that stick out of the skin and are used as place markers, doctors at Putnam Hospital Center performed the procedure using a new surgical technique — breast seed localization — that is more accurate and less cumbersome on the patient.

The burgeoning technology calls for placing a metal seed, smaller than a centimeter, into the abnormal breast tissue a few days before the surgery. The seed emits a small amount of radiation that helps the surgeon during the procedure locate the abnormality, allowing for more precision and less tissue removal. The seed is taken out during surgery.

“It was painless,” Sessions, of Wappingers Falls, said. “It relieved some anxiety knowing that the surgeon knew where to go rather than have to find the mass. It seemed less invasive.”

Breast surgeon Dr. Lyda Rojas, chairwoman of the Cancer Committee and Breast Tumor Board at Putnam Hospital Center, said a whole team performs the seed localization, including the radiologist who inserts the seed, the nuclear physicist who keeps track of the seed, the surgeon who removes the breast tissue with the seed and the pathologist who examines the tissue and returns the seed back to nuclear medicine.

“I’m happy that we are able to introduce this procedure to our community,” Rojas said. “This has enhanced our program by decreasing the amount of time a patient spends in the hospital and diminishing the stress involved with having a needle sticking out of the breast at the time of surgery.”

Most people, she said, are candidates for breast seed localization. She stressed that for those patients concerned about the radiation in the seed, the procedure is completely safe.

Breast seed localization is also performed at Vassar Brothers Medical Center.

Top News


Northern Dutchess Hospital will help adults avert type 2 diabetes before the devastating disease takes hold with its National Pred...
Arthur Piebes has a cautionary tale about delaying care during the COVID-19 pandemic. At the height of the crisis, Piebes began ex...