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Atlantic General Hospital's Sorin Women's Diagnostic Center Offers Wireless Localization for Patients Undergoing Breast Surgery

Atlantic General Hospital's Sorin Women's Diagnostic Center Offers Wireless Localization for Patients Undergoing Breast Surgery

Women and men preparing for a breast lumpectomy or excisional biopsy at Atlantic General Hospital will encounter a more comfortable pre-surgery experience, thanks to a generous donation from John H. ‘Jack Burbage, Jr. The local businessman and philanthropist’s recent $100,000 gift to the Burbage Regional Cancer Care Center funded the purchase of Merit Medical’s SCOUT wireless breast localization for Atlantic General’s breast patients, in addition to other technologies.

Like other healthcare facilities in the region, Atlantic General Hospital had relied on traditional wire localization – a procedure performed before breast surgery to mark the location of a tumor or suspicious lesion to guide the surgeon.

During wire localization, a hooked wire is inserted into the breast to mark the location of the lesion. Because the end of the wire protrudes from the breast, it is typically placed on the morning of surgery. Patients must restrict their movement so that the wire is not accidentally displaced. At the time of surgery (which can be several hours after wire placement), the surgeon follows the wire to find and remove the lesion.

With SCOUT wire-free localization, a tiny device smaller than a grain of rice is placed into the abnormal tissue. This “reflector” can be placed any time prior to surgery and later be detected by the surgeon using radar waves. This flexibility allows for easier coordination of the placement procedure and the subsequent surgery, potentially resulting in fewer surgery delays.

During the placement, the radiologist:

  • Confirms the location of the abnormal tissue using imaging (mammography or ultrasound)
  • Uses a local anesthetic to numb the targeted area of the breast
  • Introduces the reflector through a small needle under image guidance
  • Confirms the placement of the reflector

The reflector cannot be felt after placement and patients can resume normal activity until surgery. It is completely passive until activated in the operating room. During surgery, the surgeon uses radar with SCOUT’s 360 degree detection capabilities to locate the reflector’s exact position, with instant response readings to guide the dissection path.

This precision localization helps increase the likelihood of complete lesion removal, thereby reducing the need for a second surgery and expediting any subsequent treatment at the Burbage Regional Cancer Care Center.

“A positive byproduct of the accuracy of this system is the improved conservation of healthy breast tissue,” said Atlantic General breast surgeon Alae Zarif. “This can translate into better cosmetic outcomes and increased confidence for women undergoing surgery.”

“Breast cancer surgery can be physically and emotionally distressing. This solution improves surgical outcomes, which result in decreased post-operative complications, allowing us to quickly treat patients in the medical and radiation oncology setting,” said Virginia Wildman, CRNP, nurse practitioner at the Burbage Regional Cancer Care Center.

SCOUT wireless localization is now available at Atlantic General Hospital’s Eunice Q. Sorin Women’s Diagnostic Center for women and men undergoing breast lumpectomy or biopsy. The Sorin center is the only facility on the lower Eastern Shore offering this service. For more information, call the center at (410) 641-9215 or visit