RIDGEWOOD, N.J. -- The Valley Hospital was recently recognized as the first hospital in northern New Jersey to offer a more accurate and patient-friendly procedure to precisely pinpoint and remove small benign and cancerous breast tumors abnormal breast tissue.
The procedure, called radioactive seed localization, consists of a radiologist injecting a low-energy radioactive 'seed' the size of a grain of rice into the breast tissue to mark the exact location of the tumor or abnormal tissue. In the operating room, the surgeon is able to locate the seed and remove both it and the abnormal breast tissue.
The radioactive seed is not dangerous and only emits enough radiation to allow for detection by the breast surgeon.
“Radioactive seed localization offers a much more convenient and certainly much more comfortable option for our patients,” said radiologist Jaclyn Calem-Grunat, M.D., Director of Breast Imaging at Valley. “We can place the seed prior to surgery, and then the patient can return for surgery closer to the time of the procedure."
Radioactive seed localization in many cases may replace the need for wire-localization – a procedure that involves inserting a guide wire into the breast several hours prior to surgery, leaving the wire protruding from the skin until removal in the operating room.
Bergen County resident Corrin McCarthy was the first patient to undergo the radioactive seed localization procedure at Valley in preparation for a breast biopsy. “Having had both the wire and the seed procedures, I can say that I have found the seed to be much more comfortable and convenient than the wire,” she said. “I am particularly excited about the fact that patients can have the seed placed up to 5 days in advance so that when you come into Valley for surgery, there’s no additional procedure to do and no added waiting time."
Dr. Tihesha Wilson, Assistant Medical Director of The Valley Hospital Breast Center , performed McCarthy’s biopsy using the seed localization procedure and noted the improvements. “I am very pleased to be able to offer radiation seed localization to our patients. I found that utilizing the radiation seed allowed for greater precision during the surgery resulting in less disruption of healthy breast tissue.”