SAVI SCOUT, a new device that helps with breast cancer treatment, was added to treatment options at Chesapeake Regional Healthcare this past July.

Lenore Schneider went for a routine mammogram in August. But the 86-year-old’s results were anything but routine. The Great Bridge resident learned she had breast cancer. “I had no idea that I had it, and I would have really been in trouble if I hadn’t gotten the mammogram when I did,” she said. “I didn’t have any lumps in my breasts, and I was surprised when they told me.”

 Schneider had a lumpectomy, which is removal of some breast tissue surrounding the tumor, instead of a total removal of the breast or mastectomy. More than 2.8 million women in the U.S. need surgery every year to remove cancerous growths from their breasts.

Schneider was one of the lucky ones. Her treatment allowed the less complicated lumpectomy because of early detection. And she had the procedure done with the SAVI SCOUT, a new technology that helps make partial removal of the breast easier.

Chesapeake Regional Healthcare, where she had her surgery, brought the SAVI SCOUT on board in July of this year. It is the first medical center in the region to use the device.

Dr. Antonio Ruiz, medical director of The Breast Center at Chesapeake Regional Healthcare, was introduced to the SAVI SCOUT a couple of years ago while attending a conference. “I’m a member of a small group of breast surgeons, and we try to stay up with any new cutting-edge technology that helps our patients,” he said. “The SCOUT was still in the research phase a couple of years ago, but I asked the company to stay in touch and they did.”

“When it was ready for the market, we thought it was something that would be beneficial to both our patients and our staff,” Ruiz added.

With approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the device, from Cianna Medical, based in Aliso Viejo, California, is currently in use in more than 50 medical centers across the country.

It’s described as a breast lesion localization tool that uses non-radioactive micro-impulse radar to localize and direct the removal of tumors that can’t be felt. It helps with accuracy of the tissue location and reportedly lessens the chances of repeat surgery from not having all cancer cells removed. The SAVI SCOUT was recently awarded the 2016 Scientific Impact Award at this year’s American Society of Breast Surgeons annual meeting.

“The SCOUT replaces the wire needle localization, where a patient has wires inserted into the breast to locate the tissue for removal,” Ruiz said. “The wire localization is a separate procedure from the surgery usually done the day of the scheduled lumpectomy.”

The SCOUT uses a reflector instead of wires and is placed in the breast up to seven days before surgery, and it’s painless, according to Ruiz. “The locator finds the reflector and emits signals that indicate where the tissue is that needs removal,” he said.

Meg Schrader, breast nurse navigator at Chesapeake Regional Healthcare, sees the SAVI SCOUT as another way to ease the stress of decision-making for patients with a cancer diagnosis. “There’s a lot of decision points after a patient receives a cancer diagnosis,” she said. “If it’s determined that a lumpectomy is to be done, this device takes a lot of time out of what we used to do by inserting the wires.”

Schrader understands all too well. She is an 11-year breast cancer survivor who underwent a mastectomy. “Anything we can do to make things easier for our patients is so important,” she said. “I’ve seen nothing but good things like less time involved, less pain without the wires and less stress by using the SAVI SCOUT.”

And while SAVI SCOUT is helping many, it doesn’t help all. “Of course there are some exceptions,” Ruiz said. “It doesn’t help with mastectomies or if a patient needs more than one reflector inserted for a procedure.”

“The SAVI SCOUT won’t let you work with more than one reflector at a time so we would have to use wires for that,” he added. “But, we’re able to schedule our surgeries quicker and more efficiently now.”

Schneider said she is happy with how her surgery went. “I just know they inserted some sort of chip that pinpointed exactly where they needed to go,” she said. “It was all done in a day; I didn’t even stay overnight.”

“My sister, who lives in Kentucky, had the same procedure except she had wires and said she actually got sick,” Schneider added. “I was anxious to get mine over with but that chip (reflector) turned out to be such a blessing.”

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