Open Accessibility Menu

How Radioactive Seed Localization (RSL) is changing breast cancer treatment

Starting in 2016, Touro Infirmary has offered Radioactive Seed Localization (RSL) surgery to breast cancer patients. The program, supported by Dr. John Colfry and Dr. Danial Rupley, established Touro as the first hospital in the Gulf South region to offer this treatment. Dr. Colfry, a Breast Surgical Oncologist, and Dr. Rupley, a Radiologist, trained at MD Anderson Cancer Center to bring these advanced treatments to our patients.

What is a radioactive seed localization?

RSL is a new way for radiologists and surgeons to identify the tumor or lump. A RSL implant is the size of a grain of rice and is placed in the area of cancer using a mammography or ultrasound. The seed is placed one to five days before the surgery and found by the surgeon using specialized tools that detect the seed. Traditionally, wire localization has been used as the guide for surgeons to find the cancerous area.

If the seed is radioactive does it mean that there will be radioactive exposure?

The seed is a very low level of radioactive energy. In fact, the seed poses no risk to your family members, caregivers, or anyone who comes into contact with you during the time you have the seed. Additionally, after the seed is taken out, it leaves no trace radioactive material.

Why would I want radioactive seed localization?

patient smiling to doctor

Compared to wire localization, there are many benefits of RSL. Wire localization typically requires patients to have the procedure done immediately before surgery, while RSL can be done up to five days in advance. With wire localization, part of the wire remains outside of the breast, which may be uncomfortable for patients and, if accidentally touched or moved, may decrease the surgeon’s ability to identify the lump. During the surgery, less tissue needs to be removed from the breast if using a seed because the surgeon is able to easily identify where the lesion is.

Are you considering your options before breast cancer surgery or do you have more questions about RSL? Contact our team at the Women’s Imaging Center at 504-897-8600 to learn more or visit our online website. Our team is dedicated to our patients and to continuing our values of respect and family.

Click here to learn more about radioactive seed.