Open Accessibility Menu

Radioactive Seed

Touro Infirmary is the first hospital in the Gulf South region to offer Radioactive Seed Localization (RSL) breast surgery. The program, spearheaded by Dr. John Colfry, Breast Surgical Oncologist, and Dr. Daniel Rupley, Radiologist, allows the radiologist and surgeon to very accurately target lesions in the breast.

Drs. Colfry and Rupley completed a training course for Radioactive Seed Localization at MD Anderson Cancer Center and are excited to bring this new surgical technique to patients in Louisiana.

About Radioactive Seed Localization:

Radioactive Seed Localization (RSL) offers a new alternative with multiple benefits compared to traditional wire localization. A very low-energy radioactive seed is placed under ultrasound or mammographic guidance by an experienced radiologist. The seed can be placed one to five days before surgery. During the surgery, the surgeon uses a handheld gamma probe to more precisely identify and remove the tumor by obtaining a three dimensional view of the tumor’s location. This also allows for accurate and alternative planning of the surgical incision.

About Seed Implantation and Removal:

A specially-trained radiologist performs the seed implantation. The seed placement procedure is very similar to a needle biopsy procedure. The radiologist injects a local anesthetic to numb the area before starting the procedure. Ultrasound or mammography is used to guide placement of the seed. During surgery, the surgeon removes the abnormal tissue or tumor along with the seed.

What is the seed?

Each seed is only 5mm long, which is about the size of a grain of rice. The seed acts as a marker for the surgeon because the iodine inside can be detected by the gamma meter being used during the lumpectomy, and the seed itself can be seen on ultrasound. The seed does not present an exposure risk to caregivers, family members, or others who come in contact with the patient, therefore special isolation measures are not required. With this procedure, once the seed is removed with the breast tissue, the entire radioactivity is gone.

Benefits of Radioactive Seed Localization vs. Wire Localization:

  • Less tissue is removed, allowing for much improved cosmetics which is extremely important to patients
  • Less unnecessary dissection and undermining of native tissue that should be left undisturbed
  • More comfortable for patients; time between placement of seed and surgery can be uncomfortable with traditional wires
  • Decreased operating time

Learn more about Touro’s Breast Surgery Program online at