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What is Radioactive Seed Localization?

Starting in 2016, Touro Infirmary has offered our breast cancer patients Radioactive Seed Localization (RSL) surgery to target lesions in the breast. 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 at the area of the 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 that you have the seed. Additionally, are the seed is taken out it leaves no trace radioactive material.

So, why would I want radioactive seed localization?

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.