New procedure a ‘game changer’ for breast cancer patients, tumor removal surgery

Breast Cancer surgery is being made easier with Magseed.
Breast Cancer surgery is being made easier with Magseed.(wbay)
Published: Apr. 21, 2023 at 6:43 AM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - A new breakthrough procedure for breast cancer patients could minimize the surgery they need. And Montgomery’s UAB Medicine Breast Health Clinic is the only place in Alabama to offer it.

It’s called Magseed. It’s a magnetic, unbreakable seed, smaller than a single grain of rice. Typically a radiologist will inject it into a cancer patient’s breast a few days or even a few weeks before the patient has surgery to remove cancer.

“We used to do what we call the wire-loc, and it had to be done the morning of the surgery,” explained breast radiologist Dr. Lauren Thorington. “And so you got to be really early in the morning, you were there for a little bit and then you would go to the hospital or the surgical center with wires coming out of your breast. And, and, and again, it had to be all done the same day. So there was time constraints, and it’s just a more cumbersome procedure. With this, you can come at any point before surgery does not have to be done the same day. And it’s quick and easy and it’s just more convenient for the patient more convenient for the surgeon.”

The Magseed is placed inside the lump and serves as a marker for surgeons to make sure they’re taking out only the cancerous tissue, leaving the healthy tissue untouched.

“And what that allows me to do as a surgeon is I can remove less tissue,” said Dr. Katelin Holmes, a breast surgeon. “It’s cosmetically a better surgery for the patient. It allows me to hide scars and incisions sometimes that aren’t as obvious to a patient after they heal. And it helps me be very, very accurate and removing the correct tissue the first time and getting a patient cancer-free when they leave the operating room.”

Doctors are calling this a game changer and a big step forward in the overall patient experience.

“Historically, we had larger operations, more time on the operating room table, large amounts of breast tissue removed, that maybe was healthy breast tissue that didn’t have to be removed at the time of surgery. And now in modern breast surgery, the goal is, how do we limit the time a patient has to go to surgery? How do we remove a small volume of tissue from the breast as possible, and in turn, this allows for a quicker recovery, and then getting that patient on to the rest of their cancer treatment,” said Dr. Holmes. “And so the benefit of a smaller operation is you can get back to work quicker you can get on with your life more quickly. It’s not uncommon sometimes to have patients that have this procedure towards the end of the week, and they might even be back at work by Monday.”

The Breast Surgeons at UAB Medicine Breast Health Clinic in Montgomery and the Breast Radiologists at Baptist Breast Health are proud to be the first in the State of Alabama to use MagSeed. Talk to your breast surgeon today to learn if you are a candidate for this new procedure.

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