Radioactive Seed Localizations

Better precision and accuracy

Radioactive seed localization (RSL) is an alternative to wire localization for women undergoing lumpectomies. This procedure allows radiologists to target an area of concern on your mammogram or ultrasound for surgical excision by using advanced imaging with accurate tumor localization.

RSL allows the radiologist to implant a seed up to five days before your scheduled surgery, making scheduling easier and reducing wait time. The seed placement allows for less discomfort for the patient than the wire.

In addition, RSL allows for more precise localization of the tumor, which may reduce the amount of tissue needed to be taken during the surgery and even possibly reduce the chance that a second surgery will be needed because of positive tumor margins occurring during the first surgery.

Once a mammography or ultrasound image has confirmed the location of the abnormal tissue, the radiologist will numb the identified area and insert a localization needle that contains the radioactive seed into your breast.

In order to confirm the position of the needle, your radiologist will take more images. After this has been confirmed, they will take out the needle, leaving the radioactive seed behind. One last image will be taken to confirm the placement of the seed.

What you can expect

The seed’s low radioactivity is not a hazard to you or anyone around you, allowing you to resume normal activities. Your scheduled surgery will take place up to five days after the RSL procedure.

During this surgery, your surgeon will use a handheld device that identifies the radioactivity released by the seed to detect the location of your tumor and remove both the seed and tumor.

The majority of patients are potential candidates except for women who are pregnant, have implants and/or abrasions close to the chest wall or skin. Women who are breastfeeding are asked not to nurse while the seed is in place.

*Please note that this procedure is not FDA approved.

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